Lawyers denounce extrajudicial killings

Bettina Magsaysay, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 30 2016 01:06 AM

A group of lawyers has come out with a public statement denouncing "the bloodbath involving the extrajudicial killing of suspected drug criminals" in the Philippines.

A Facebook entry, entitled "Lawyers Against Extra-Judicial Killings and for the Rule of Law", was posted in Australia on Wednesday by Atty. Manjo Oyson and was signed by 224 lawyers.

The statement expressed concern that the hundreds of drug suspects killed since President Rodrigo Duterte won the presidential elections in May will only increase, as Duterte earlier vowed that thousands would die in his war on drugs.

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"As lawyers with a duty to uphold the law, we assert that extrajudicial killings have no place in a democracy like ours that is founded on the rule of law and not of men. Extrajudicial killings have no place in a democracy that constitutionally guarantees against the deprivation of life, liberty or property without due process of law, and the presumption of innocence. Extrajudicial killings have no place in a democracy that gives to the courts the sole power to adjudge guilt and mete out punishment. Extrajudicial killings have no place in a democracy founded on the principle of legality that requires that the government act only according to law," the Facebook post read.

The group said it supports the call of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines to "give due attention to the serious and credible investigation and resolution of these incidents and the prosecution of the wrongdoers to the full extent of the law."

It post urged lawyers, educators, and other concerned members of society to stand against extrajudicial killings. It also encouraged netizens to like, share and write "I support this statement" in the comments section.