Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre hit back at Commission on Human Rights (CHR) chair Chito Gascon for “making generalizations” in comparing the number of killings during Martial Law to the number of deaths in the first few months of President Duterte’s administration.
"Ang naitala sa unang mga taon ng diktadurya (Marcos regime) ng mga napatay ay hindi umabot ng limang libo sa mga unang taon ng diktadurya. Ito po limang buwan pa lamang may limang libo na ang napatay," Gascon said.
Aguirre took exception to the statement since Gascon did not qualify the deaths cited by Gascon in Mr. Duterte’s war on drugs, specifically, which deaths resulted from legitimate police anti-drug operations and which deaths involved other incidents or circumstances.
“Ayusin niya pagsasalita niya, ayusin muna niya mga figures niya. Pare pareho naman kami nakipaglaban kay Marcos. Nag-ge-generalize siya,” he said.
The justice secretary also criticized Gascon for calling on the Department of Justice (DOJ) to file criminal raps, even in the absence of the required formal complaints filed with the department, against “all policemen” who admitted to killing drug suspects for allegedly resisting arrest and attempting to fire at them.
“Huwag na niya ako pagsabihan, wala naman siyang alam; hindi siya abugado. Bakit hindi sila (CHR) magfile ng kaso? Sila may karapatan magfile ng kaso. Kahit siya, yung office niya, may karapatan magfile ng kaso pero kahit isang kaso wala,” he said.
Aguirre said the CHR has not filed a single criminal complaint against Mr. Duterte during his stint as Davao City mayor, for allegedly being responsible for the so-called Davao Death Squad vigilante group.
“Noong 2008 to 2009 pa nila sinasabi may DDS si Pres. Duterte pero mula dun kay Secretary De Lima hanggang dun sa kanya (Gascon), wala naman nafafile na kahit anong kaso,” he said.
Duterte has repeatedly said that his administration’s directive is for policemen to shoot armed drug suspects only in defense of their lives.