MANILA (PNA) – Senator Leila de Lima on Monday expressed hope that President Rodrigo Duterte would keep track of the Senate probe on extra-judicial killings, slated to be held on August 22-23.
In an open letter to the President, De Lima reiterated her desire to probe these killings, citing reports that most of them were “not related but only coincidental” to the Duterte administration’s intensified campaign against illegal drugs.
De Lima, who chairs the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights, said there have been reports that killings were done by corrupt government officials who wanted to silence witnesses who knew of their involvement in the drug trade.
“May mga pagpatay na isinasabay o isinasakay lamang ng mga tiwaling kawani ng pamahalaan at mga kasabwat nila upang pagtakpan ang kanilang karumaldumal na partisipasyon sa kalakan ng droga. Hindi nila isinusulong, kundi inililihis pa nga ang direksyon ng paglaban sa droga at sinasabotahe ang magagandang layunin ng kumpanya,” she said.
(“There are killings done by corrupt officials and their accomplices to cover up their involvement in drug pushing. They are not pushing for a campaign against drugs but sabotaging the main objective of the campaign,” she said.)
The neophyte senator and former Commission on Human Rights chair, meanwhile assured that like the President, the Senate only wants to strengthen the implementation of laws and human rights.
De Lima earlier said that she wanted to know if the operational procedures of the Philippine National Police, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, and other law enforcement agencies were legitimate.
Senator and Chair of the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs Panfilo ‘Ping’ Lacson, despite having fears that the Senate inquiry would slow down the government’s successful drive to end the drug problem in the country, has also agreed to hold the probe.
According to reports, more or less 500 drug pushers and users have been killed in the war on illegal drugs under the Duterte administration.