MANILA - A police announcement that there were no extra judicial killings under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte is "out of reality," a priest counselling hundreds of families of those slain in the government's anti-narcotics drive said Sunday.
"Out of reality po talaga iyan. Even the people in the slums would really know what's happening -- na mayroon talagang patuloy na EJK, as of now," Fr. Joselito Sarabia told DZMM.
(That is out of reality. Even the people in the slums would really know what's happening -- that EJKs still continue, as of now.)
Sarabia said his group organizes psycho-social therapy for 25 widows and orphans of supposed EJK victims in every parish.
At least 10 cases, he claimed, were killings perpetrated by vigilantes who later turned up together with police investigators.
"I could identify 10 to 15 na very kuwan talaga sila, positive, na pulis ang may gawa ng kanilang krimen. Ang iba kasi sa mga cases, pagpasok mga vigilantes. Later on, sometime sa investigation, kasama ng SOCO, naka-uniform na iyung mga pumatay and nakita ng mga family members," the priest said.
Duterte and his aides have denied that assassins are in cahoots with police to carry out murder.
The Philippine National Police (PNP), for its part, said Friday that no EJK case was recorded in the country since July 1, 2016, when Duterte assumed office.
Malacañang has said the PNP was only following Administrative Order 35 in its announcement.
The order defines EJK as killings where 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 discounts killings perpetrated by state agents and non-state actors that remain uninvestigated, the Commission on Human Rights noted.