Robredo laments killings in drug war, vows to seek justice

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 21 2021 06:01 PM | Updated as of Oct 22 2021 01:32 AM

 Vice President Leni Robredo attends the blessing and turnover of the cremated remains of several victims of extrajudicial killings (EJK), held in Manila on Wednesday, 20 October 2021. Charlie Villegas, OVP
Vice President Leni Robredo attends the blessing and turnover of the cremated remains of several victims of extrajudicial killings (EJK), held in Manila on Wednesday, 20 October 2021. Charlie Villegas, OVP

MANILA— Vice President Leni Robredo on Thursday condoled with families of victims of alleged extrajudicial killings under the Duterte administration, saying she regrets that she was unable to help stop it during its peak. 

In a speech at the blessing of urns of 7 individuals killed in the drug war in 2016, Robredo aired her frustration for being helpless in stopping the killings, apologizing to the families. 

She also vowed to give justice to them. 

"Hihingi pa din ako sa inyo ng paumanhin dahil ako Pangalawang Pangulo, pero hindi ko… hindi ko nahinto iyong patayan na nangyari. Kasalanan din iyon ng lahat ng nasa pamahalaan na nangyari siya—na nangyari siya habang kami ay nanunungkulan," she said. 

(I apologize to all of you because I am the Vice President but I was not able to stop the spate of killings. That is also the fault of everyone in the government because it happened while we are here.)

"Ang pinakatulong siguro na mabibigay namin sa inyo, siguruhin na mabigyan ng katarungan iyong pagkamatay ng mga mahal n’yo sa buhay at siguruhin na iyong mga naiwan kahit paano ay may nasasandalan," Robredo added.

(Maybe the best help we could give you is to make sure that their deaths would be given justice and make sure that we are here for you.)

The event saw the blessing of urns of drug war victims killed in anti-drug operations in 2016, the first year of the Duterte administration. 

Their remains were cremated following exhumation as the 5-year lease on their graves expired. 

Robredo said there are many things left to do as they seek justice for them, and urged the families to hang on to hope. 

"Marami pa iyong puwedeng gawin. Pero sana hindi tayo mawalan ng… mawalan ng lakas ng loob. Dahil iyong bukas ay marami pang puwedeng mangyari. Hindi na natin mababalik iyong buhay ng mga nawala sa atin, pero kapag pinagbuti natin ang buhay natin, parang iyon na din iyong alay natin sa kanila."

(We can still do a lot, but I hope we won't lose hope because so many things could still happen. While we cannot get their lives back, we can improve our lives and in a way offer it in their memory.)

The Office of the Vice President has partnered with civil society groups in providing various interventions for families who lost their loved ones to EJKs.

The event also came after the Department of Justice this week released for the first time details about some of the cases reviewed by its drug war review panel. 

Government data shows 6,100 drug suspects have been killed by security forces in anti-drug operations since Duterte, who won the elections on an anti-crime, anti-drug and anti-corruption platform, took office in mid-2016.

The International Criminal Court launched a full inquiry into alleged crimes against humanity in Duterte's drug war.

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