MANILA - The Commission on Human Rights on Sunday challenged the police leadership to bare records supporting its claim that the 3,800 people killed in the government's anti-narcotics crackdown were all drug suspects who resisted arrest.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano on Friday told Qatari broadcaster Al Jazeera that fatalities in the drug war were all criminal drug dealers, despite not being tried in court.
The Philippine National Police meanwhile said no EJK case was recorded in the country since July 1, 2016, when President Duterte assumed office.
"Ewan ko kung saan naman nakuha ni Secretary Cayetano ang kanyang figures at nasabi niyang lahat iyun ay drug dealers. That is why we are challenging the PNP na ilabas nila ang kanilang imbestigasyon doon sa mga 3,000 plus cases na sinasabi nila," CHR commissioner Gwen Pimentel-Gana tol DZMM.
"Kasi how can you make a conclusion na lahat iyun talaga ay drug dealer kung hindi pa tapos ang imbestigasyon ng mga kaso ng [PNP]-IAS (Internal Affairs Service).
(I don't know where Secretary Cayetano got his figures saying that all of the slain were drug dealers. That is why we are challenging the PNP to show their investigation on the 3,000 drug cases. How can you conclude that all of them were drug dealers when the IAS has yet to finish its investigation.)
CHR, Gana said, wants to compare PNP findings with the results of their own probe, which show that not all killed in the campaign were drug dealers, like 17-year-old Kian Delos Santos and other minors.
DEFINING EJK: AO 35 vs UN
Gana also challenged the government's use of Administrative Order 35 in defining EJKs as those in which the victim was "a member of, or affiliated with an organization, to include political, environmental, agrarian, labor, or similar causes; or an advocate of above-named causes; or a media practitioner or person(s) apparently mistaken or identified to be so."
This definition, she said, discounts killings perpetrated by state agents and non-state actors that remain uninvestigated.
The CHR urged the government to adopt former UN Special Rapporteur Philip Alston's definition of EJK as "any killing by Government forces as well as killings by any other groups or individuals which the Government fails to investigate, prosecute and punish when it is in a position to do so."
'LISTEN TO THE PEOPLE'
Cayetano and PNP's statement came on the heels of an opinion poll showing that majority of Filipinos believe that only the poor are killed in the war on drugs and they fear becoming victims of EJKs.
"Nakikiisa kami sa survey na iyan at masaya kami at least mayroon nang survey ngayon na lumabas na nakita natin ang sentimyento ng mga ordinaryong mamamayan," Gana said.
"Siguro naman, pakinggan dapat ng mga kapulisan iyan at isipin nila na hindi lang ito gawa-gawa, na imagination lang na ang mga tao ay takot. Makinig sila sa pulso ng bayan."
(We support the survey and we are happy that it has shown the sentiments of ordinary citizens. Perhaps, the police could listen to this and understand that the public's fear is not imaginary or made-up. They should listen to the pulse of the nation.)
Malacañang has said recent killings are "being addressed" even as it backed police claim that no EJK has been recorded under President Rodrigo Duterte's administration.
In August, Duterte reminded police officers that unlawful killings were not allowed, following the spate of teen deaths in police operations. He has brushed aside international criticism against his drug war, saying police operations were all above board as he emphasized the magnitude of the country's drug problem.