'We can't go on being indifferent to the daily executions'
MANILA - A lawmaker has raised the red flag on the Duterte administration's bloody war on drugs, lamenting the new government's apparent indifference to extra-judicial killings.
Senator Leila de Lima, in a privilege speech Tuesday, said that as the Philippines wages war against drugs, it is also starting a battle against humanity.
"We do not want a situation where not a single dissenter is left to remind the people that they have just traded the drug crisis with another one: the crisis of our failed humanity as a nation," De Lima said.
The former justice secretary said the drug war has led to "our descent as a nation into the darkness."
"We cannot go on being indifferent to the daily executions, without ultimately becoming a nation bound by a collective sociopathy. The day has already come when we can no longer tell who is morally wrong among us: the nine-year-old street child sniffing rugby, or the policeman who shoots the child in the head for sniffing rugby," De Lima said.
The senator said that while she is with President Rodrigo Duterte in his advocacy to end the drug crisis plaguing the country, it is high time the government finds "another way."
"Yes, Mr. President, indeed, we must wage this war against drugs. But there must be another way. There has to be another way," said de Lima.
"There must be a way other than this method that brings us to our collective descent into impunity, fear, and ultimately, utter and complete inhumanity," she added.
SPARE THE INNOCENT
The senator, also a former chief of the Commission on Human Rights, said Duterte has to find a solution that will spare the innocent and prevent more bloodshed.
"We cannot wage the war against drugs with blood. We will only be trading drug addiction with another more malevolent kind of addiction. This is the compulsion for more killing, killings that have now included the innocent. There are now more mistaken identities and collateral damage. And the proportion is rising. Why is the proportion of collateral damage rising?" De Lima said.
Based on a tally by the ABS-CBN Investigative and Research Group, at least 771 people have been killed since May 10 up to August 2 (3:00 p.m.). The number of those killed during police operations has reached 472, while 228 people were killed by unidentified assailants. The number of victims of summary executions has risen to 71.
At least 9 people are killed daily amid Duterte's anti-narcotics policy, research also shows.
De Lima warned Duterte that "impunity has no boundaries," and that more innocent people are bound to suffer if the government fails to stop extra-judicial killings.
"Mr. President, impunity, when unleashed, has no boundaries. It does not care who dies. It does not care who suffers. It does not care who the victims are. Impunity has no sense of right or wrong. It is as amoral as it is immoral," De Lima said.
De Lima urged those executing Duterte's orders to be "real law enforcers" who respect the law.
"Nais ko lang na ang ating mga pulis at iba pang law enforcement agents ay maging totoong mga alagad ng batas, na sumusunod sila sa batas habang pinaiiral ito, na tumatalima sila sa mga patakaran at pamantayan sa pagsugpo ng krimen at pagdakip sa mga nagkasala, na isinasaalang-alang nila ang pangingibabaw ng batas sa kanilang pagtupad sa tungkulin," she added.
She also expressed alarm over "vigilantes of the night."
"My gravest concern lies with the vigilantes of the night now operating almost all over the country, those harbingers of death spreading the apocalypse of our dehumanization. They match with vigor the killings carried out by the official PNP. These people we cannot serve with the Summons of the Senate. They are faceless, as they are unaccountable," she added.
READ: Privilege speech of Sen. Leila de Lima on Duterte's drug war