Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has maintained that President Duterte is the driving force behind the unabated spate of killings and human rights abuses in the country because he continues to promote a culture of violence and impunity.
De Lima, the staunchest critic of Duterte regime’s crooked policies, made the statement following the killing of nine individuals believed to be with activist groups in Southern Tagalog last March 7 and the recent release of a video showing a policeman allegedly planting evidence on a slain drug suspect.
“The stark truth stares at us: No one else to blame for the killing spree (of drug suspects, lawyers, former and incumbent LGU officials, media practitioners, non-combatant activists and HRDs), but Duterte himself. He’s the instigator or driving force behind the spate of violence and assassinations unparalleled in modern PH history,” she said in her Dispatch from Crame No. 1042.
“That’s the most crucial, damning fact that the Guevarra report to the UNHRC chose to gloss over, if not conceal. Tigilan na nila ang pagbubulagbulagan at pagkukunwari. Harapin ang katotohanan!,” she added.
Two days after Duterte instructed police and soldiers to “kill” and “finish off” communist rebels in encounters, the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) mounted a deadly crackdown in Calabarzon that led to the demise of nine and the arrest of six activists.
Moreover, a viral video that made the rounds online shows a cop firing a gun three times before placing it beside a drug suspect. The incident reportedly took place in Valencia City, Bukidnon, on February 20.
“Whether it’s drugs, insurgency, COVID-19 or poverty, he [Duterte], indeed, governs through violence and killings. 2016 pa lang, pumapatay na ang rehimeng ito. Duterte’s latest marching order is just a reiteration and a reminder of his long-standing policy of brutally eliminating perceived enemies,” De Lima said in a separate statement.
Last Feb. 24, it may be recalled that Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra told UNHRC that more than half of thousands of anti-drug operations launched by police under the Duterte administration failed to comply with rules of engagement and protocol, but he failed to address Duterte’s accountability in relation to the government’s drug war.
This 18th Congress, the lady Senator from Bicol filed Senate Bill No. 1842 to define and criminalize extrajudicial killings and related acts, to ensure an independent investigation of summary killings and provide compensation for the victims.