MANILA - The Commission on Human Rights slammed the Duterte administration's “narco-list," which linked government officials to illegal drug activities, following the killing of a Maguindanao town mayor in Manila last Monday.
In a statement, CHR spokesperson Jacqueline de Guia condemned the killing of Talitay, Maguindanao Mayor Abdulwahab Sabal who was included in a narco-list made public in 2016.
Sabal was gunned down by unidentified motorcycle-riding men in Malate while he was inside his vehicle.
“The rule of law must be prioritized above all; the release of the supposed narco-list in 2016 was a violation of due process and has predictably led to violence. Judgement and justice can only be achieved by going through the proper channels,” de Guia said.
Sabal, then a vice mayor, was one of those identified by President Rodrigo Duterte as a narco-politician in 2016. He was also arrested in Cotabato City for alleged possession of firearms and illegal drugs.
He was also linked to the explosion at the Roxas night market in Davao City, an accusation he denied.
The most recent narco-list includes Lt. Col. Jovie Espenido, who is tagged as behind the killings of a number of drug-linked politicians.
According to the CHR, the government should see to it that elected officials are safe against unnecessary violence.
“CHR urges the government to take the necessary steps to ensure the safety of its elected officials — this cycle of violence must be addressed, for its lasting effects and consequences are already being felt,” de Guia said.
The commission also urged the Duterte administration to find a peaceful, long-term solution to quell Philippines' drug menace.
“Additionally, CHR calls for a peaceful and long-term solution to the drug problem so that the Filipino people are provided with a safer environment where all can thrive,” de Guia said.