Continue to speak out vs drug killings, De Lima urges int’l community

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Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has urged the international community to continue condemning and making the Duterte administration accountable for its murderous war on drugs that lacks moral and legal justification.

In a message read during the 61st Session of the Commission on Narcotic Drug in Vienna, De Lima said Duterte has failed to see the country’s drug problem as a public health issue which needs an entirely different set of approaches.

“He is bent on resolving the drug problem in his own unjustified way, at the expense of the rule of law and human rights and despite the lessons learned by countries which adopted the same hard stance against the drug menace and failed,” she said.

“How many more lives are going to be cut short? How many more Filipino families are going to suffer? How far will my country regress in the name of Duterte’s war on drugs? Until when do we reach the tipping point and say, as a collective people, enough is enough?” she added.

To date, there are around 13,000 estimated reported cases of extrajudicial killings (EJK) committed since Duterte launched his all-out war on drugs, a number which De Lima noted as lower considering some cases have remained unreported to authorities.

Under Duterte administration’s 2017 Year-End Key Accomplishments Report, the Department of Interior of Local Government (DILG), in “Fighting Illegal Drugs” section, stated that a total of 20,322 were killed under the war on drugs.

The Senator from Bicol lamented that despite the continuing death toll, only a handful is being investigated and prosecuted by the authorities.

Worse, she continued, is how Duterte’s war on drugs has always targeted and victimized low-level dealers and users among the marginalized sectors of the society.

“It fails to target, as part of an integrated and comprehensive approach, the middle and big operational layers of the problem. Big time drug suppliers remain scot free and even the names of those close to Duterte have been dragged into yet another shipment of billions of peso-worth of illegal drugs,” she pointed out.

De Lima, one of the first senator who spoke against the administration’s flawed anti-war campaign, underscored the significance of working together in unity “against Duterte’s immoral and illegal war on drugs.”

“Let us all say NO to extrajudicial killings committed in its name and demand accountability for this government’s failure to adhere to the rule of law and human rights,” she said.

Acknowledging the efforts of the international community in relation to the illicit trade, De Lima said: “I also wish to extend my appreciation for your continued concern regarding human rights violations related to the ongoing war on drugs in the Philippines.”

Known as the staunchest critic of the administration’s war on drugs, De Lima filed Senate Resolution No. (SRN) 9 seeking for an investigation into the rampant extrajudicial killings and summary executions of suspected criminals in the country, as early as 2016.

Afterwards, she further proposed SRNs. 357, 358, 421, 451, seeking the investigation of the alleged involvement of police officers in cases of extrajudicial killings and the concealment of the same.

De Lima also filed the appropriate SRN 153 urging the Department of Foreign Affairs to extend an invitation to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions to visit the country to look into the extrajudicial killings and summary executions amidst the administration’s war on drugs.

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