Senator Leila de Lima wants the United Nations to come to the Philippines and look into what she called “unprecedented phenomenon of extrajudicial killings and summary executions” in the country in the midst of the government’s intensified fight against illegal drugs.
In Senate Resolution No. 153 filed on Monday, de Lima is urging the executive branch through the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to extend an invitation to the United Nationals Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Killing and Summary Executions to visit the country and look into the rampant killings here.
It was on the day she filed the resolution that De Lima was also removed as chair of the Senate committee on justice and human rights, investigating on the issue.
“It is hereby resolved, in view of the foregoing reasons and circumstances, the Senate respectfully urges the Executive Department, through the Department of Foreign Affairs, to extend an invitation to the Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions, Ms. Agnes Callamard, to conduct a visit to the country and perform inquiries or investigation on the unprecedented phenomenon of extrajudicial killings and summary executions that has arisen during the aggressive enforcement of the administration’s war on drugs,” the resolution said.
In calling for the UN probe, De Lima cited in the resolution the official data from the Philippine National Police (PNP), which showed that as of September 14, 2016, there are a total of 3,173 drug-related deaths since July 1, 2016 — 1,138 drug personalities were reportedly killed in police operations, while 2,035 were supposedly victims of extrajudicial or vigilante killings.
“The average number of persons killed daily for the past two and a half months is 42.3. By any standard, the statistics are alarming and staggering. And, judging from both official and media sources, there is no showing that we will soon experience a downtrend in the figures,” the resolution said.
De Lima also noted the testimony of a confessed henchman, Edgar Matobato, who claimed to be a former member of the Davao Death Squad during the September 15 hearing of the Senate justice committee.
Matobato claimed that the death squad had killed about 1,000 persons in Davao City allegedly on orders of then mayor and now President Rodrigo Duterte.
“Considering the serious allegations in the Matobato testimony and their grave implications that impinge on the pursuit of truth and the administration of justice in light of the cases of extrajudicial killings, various sectors, notably those engaged in human rights advocacy, clamor for an independent, swift and thorough investigation of the killings,” said the resolution.
“This call for a speedy and impartial investigation is justified by the perception that our local institutions of law enforcement and justice, including domestic mechanisms of accountability of public officials, appear to be either inadequate, compromised, or weak,” it said.
Agencies and organs within the executive department, such as the PNP and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), the resolution said, “cannot be expected to even initiate—much more sustain—an independent investigation into the killings.”
The Commission on Human Rights (CHR), which is tasked by the Constitution to conduct investigations on human rights violations, was also “under-equipped” both in resources and manpower to conduct such a massive investigation.
“At the same time, the CHR has been pilloried by no less than the current Chief Executive, who was joined in chorus by other officials in both the Executive Department and the legislature. Thus, against this backdrop, and unless a third-party investigator comes in, there is reason to believe that we may not be able to ferret out the whole truth behind the killings, and to serve complete justice to the victims and the Filipino people,” the resolution added. CDG