De Lima to UN: Probe Duterte drug war

Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 21 2016 02:54 PM | Updated as of Sep 21 2016 09:34 PM

MANILA - Senator Leila de Lima on Wednesday called on the United Nations (UN) to come to the Philippines and look into the spate of extra-judicial killings under the Duterte administration.

In Senate resolution 153 filed Monday, de Lima urged the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to invite the UN to investigate the “unprecedented” extrajudicial killings and summary executions in the country.

As a protocol, UN officials must be invited to be able to freely probe reports of human rights violations. Malacanang officials however claim UN officials can visit whenever they please.

De Lima’s resolution was filed on the same day that she was ousted as chair of the Senate committee on justice and human rights, a capacity in which she led a legislative inquiry on drug-related killings.

“It is hereby resolved, in view of the foregoing reasons and circumstances, the Senate respectfully urges the Executive Department, through the Department of Foreign Affairs, to extend an invitation to the Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions, Ms. Agnes Callamard, to conduct a visit to the country and perform inquiries or investigation on the unprecedented phenomenon of extrajudicial killings and summary executions that has arisen during the aggressive enforcement of the administration’s war on drugs,” her resolution read.

Justifying the need for UN’s intervention, de Lima noted that police data showing that 3,173 people have been killed amid the relentless anti-drug campaign, since July 1. Of this number, 1,138 were killed in arrest efforts while 2,035 were the victims of vigilante attacks.

“The average number of persons killed daily for the past two and a half months is 42.3. By any standard, the statistics are alarming and staggering. And, judging from both official and media sources, there is no showing that we will soon experience a downtrend in the figures,” the resolution said.

De Lima also noted the testimony of Edgar Matobato who appeared at the September 15 hearing of the Senate justice committee and claimed that he worked as an assassin of former Davao mayor and now President Rodrigo Duterte.

Matobato said Duterte ordered his alleged hit squad to execute over 1,000 suspected criminals and political foes.

De Lima argued that local institutions appear to be “either inadequate, compromised or weak” to conduct a speedy and impartial probe into the killings.

“Agencies and organs within the Executive Department, such as the PNP and the National Bureau of Investigation cannot be expected to initiate – much more sustain – an independent investigation into the killings,” the resolution said.

It added that the Commission on Human Rights is “under-equipped” in manpower and resources to carry out such a massive probe, has been “pilloried by no less than the current Executive Chief.”

“Thus, against this backdrop, and unless a third-party investigator comes in, there is reason to believe that that we may not be able to ferret out the truth behind the killings, and serve complete justice to the victims and the Filipino people,” the resolution stressed.