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UN probe into killings eyed

  • Written by Bernadette E. Tamayo
  • Published in Nation
  • Read: 212

SENATOR Leila de Lima wants the United Nations to look into the reported extrajudicial killings in the country, including suspected drug traders as victims.

De Lima has filed Senate Resolution No. 153 urging the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to invite Dr. Agnes Callamard, United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on summary executions, to check the spate of summary executions amid the government’s campaign against illegal drugs.

“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,” she said.

As of Sept. 14, there are 3,173 total number of persons killed since the all-out war on illegal drugs started on July 1, with 1,138 killed in police operations and 2,035 victims of alleged “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,” said De Lima.
    
She also noted that multilateral organizations, such as the UN and the European Union (EU), have expressed grave concerns over the drug-related killings in the country, urging the government to put a stop to these murders.
    
She also said that both the local and the international media have taken interest in reporting the administration’s “war on drugs” which many believe disregards due process of law and disregards basic human rights and sanctity of life.
   
De Lima, former chairperson of the Senate justice committee, has pointed out that her witness Edgar Matobato, a former member of the notorious Davao Death Squad (DDS), has implicated President Rodrigo Duterte in the death of about 1,000 persons in Davao City.
   
“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,” she said.
    
Being a signatory to various UN Conventions, De Lima said the Philippine government may pursue an impartial investigation through an independent commission of inquiry to be conducted by the UN Special Rapporteur.
    
Under the UN Human Rights Council’s Resolution 26/12, the Special Rapporteur “undertakes visits to examine the situation of extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary execution in the respective country, and to formulate recommendations to the government and other actors on upholding the right to life.