MANILA - Lawmakers critical of the administration's bloody war on drugs on Monday threw their support behind a Lower House proposal to investigate the killings of several teenagers allegedly at the hands of police officers.
This, after Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said in a television interview that these deaths could have been caused by drug lords who want an end to the war on drugs.
Asked if he thought the administration's enemies are behind the killings, Alvarez said: "Kailangan nating imbestigahang mabuti iyan… Malalim iyan, hindi yan basta ganoon lang."
Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate said it is high time that the House leadership prioritize the hearing of extra-judicial killings in the country.
He said he filed a resolution to investigate the killings more than a year ago "and every day since then extra-judicial killings have escalated, particularly targeting the poor, the youth, Lumad, farmers and even activists."
"These killings must stop. We must also be wary that some elements, both outside and even from the present administration, are themselves undermining the war on drugs to apparently confuse our people and camouflage the accountability of big time drug lords and narco-politicians," he added.
Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano noted: "San ba nanggaling si Speaker for the past one year? Hindi ba siya aware na libo-libo na ang namatay sa war on drugs?"
"Marami na ring napaslang na mga kabataan. Marami din ang gustong magtestigo na mga pamilya ng mga biktima. Meron ring nakunan ng CCTV. Maraming sektor at matagal na rin ang panawagan na imbestigahan ang alleged EJKs," he said.
"Ngayon, gusto nang imbestigahan ang kaso ni Kian Delos Santos ngunit pinapahiwatig na kaagad na ito ay kagagawan ng drug lords o politicians para sabotahiin ang war on drugs ng administrasyon. Hindi lang dapat buksan ang imbestigasyon para lang kay Kian kung hindi sa lahat ng biktima ng EJKs," he added.
Anakpawis Rep. Ariel Casilao urged the House leadership to immediately calendar the inquiry on the spate of killings and the Philippine National Police to provide the necessary documents to aid the inquiry.
Akbayan Rep. Tom Villarin said the House's action on several resolutions seeking a probe into the killings is "long overdue."
"The killing of Kian and other minors show that the anti-drug war has gone haywire with the police as primary suspects. It has gone overboard as a culture of violence is foisted as a national policy by no less than President Duterte himself," he said.
"If the leadership would focus on just the angle of a perceived conspiracy to incite anger against the Duterte administration, it shows how myopic and paranoid they have become."