Senator Leila M. de Lima has expressed outrage over the series of police-led mass killings in the country encouraged by no less than President Rodrigo Duterte himself.
Speaking at the sidelines of her trial at the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court Branch 205 on Friday, De Lima criticized Duterte, whom she called “demonyong berdugo,” for praising police officers who shot dead 32 people in the series of anti-drug operations earlier this week.
“Wala silang galang sa batas, wala silang galang sa dignidad at buhay. Mga berdugo sila, mga demonyong berdugo talaga sila,” she said.
“Those are clear words of a deranged mind if you say that, that it’s good, that it’s okay to kill 32 people a day. That’s a deranged mind,” she added.
De Lima’s statement came after Duterte lauded police officers who led the province-wide simultaneous anti-drug operations in Bulacan from Monday night until Tuesday afternoon that left 32 people killed, the highest death toll in a single day since the former Davao mayor assumed presidency.
In a speech before members of the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption on Wednesday, Duterte reportedly urged cops to continue killing drug suspects every day, saying “maganda ‘yun.”
“‘Yung namatay daw kanina sa Bulacan, 32, in a massive raid. Maganda ‘yun. Makapatay lang tayo ng mga another 32 everyday then maybe we can reduce what ails this country,” he said.
After the bloody Bulacan raid, police records show that at least 25 people were also killed in different areas in Manila overnight, adding to the casualties on Duterte’s brutal drug war.
De Lima, former chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), also cried foul over the President’s relentless attacks on human rights advocates, who have kept a watchful eye on reports of threats or instances of warrantless arrest in the country.
“Another proof that we’re talking here about deranged minds. Why would you threaten human rights advocates? Karapatan din naman ng mga nagsasalita na protektahan ang mga karapatang pantao,” she noted.
The neophyte Senator has reiterated solving drug problems by means of violence is impossible, which the President should have known even before he made empty promises to the Filipino people.
“Imposible ‘yun eh. So he shouldn’t have made that promise na tatapusin niya in three to six months. I always thought and I said it a few times noon nung campaign period, imposible ‘yan,” she said.
“Ilan pa po ang papatayin niya? Na kahit ilan ang patayin nila, hindi po maso-solve ‘yung droga na ‘yan kasi maling approach,” she added.
Duterte recently admitted he was wrong to assume that he can end the illegal drug trade in the country in three to six months, a promise he made during his campaign for presidency.
If anything, Duterte maintained he would continue his deadly war on drugs up to the last day of his term in 2022.
Note that since Duterte, who promotes killings as crime prevention, started his all-out war on illegal drugs in July last year, more than 8,000 people have already been killed – both from legitimate police operations and vigilante-style executions.
The President unleashed his tirades against De Lima after she initiated a Senate investigation into the spate of extrajudicial killings and summary executions under the current administration’s all-out war on drugs two months after she assumed the Senate post.
De Lima is considered as the first prominent political prisoner under the present Duterte regime after the government detained her on obviously fabricated drug charges to silence her from her vocal opposition to the President’s murderous war on drugs.