Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has called for a reopening of the Senate probe into the continued extrajudicial killings of suspected drug offenders following the recent brutal killing of a retired overseas Filipino worker (OFW) while in police custody.
De Lima, a known human rights defender, said the Senate leadership should consider re-opening its investigation into the drug-related killings which continues to rise with impunity and with no indication that it will end anytime soon.
“Nakarating sa akin na itinutulak na sa plenaryo ng Senado ang kontrobersyal na Gordon Report mula sa Committee on Justice and Human Rights ukol sa unang bugso ng patayan noong 2016, na nagsabing hindi raw state-sponsored ang mga patayan at wala raw kinalaman si Duterte sa mga ito,” she said in her latest Dispatch from Crame No. 361.
“Hinihikayat ko ang mga kasama kong Senador na himayin ang Gordon Report at ikonsidera ang mga obserbasyon sa aking Dissenting Report noong Disyembre 2016,” she added.
Recall that it was De Lima who initiated an inquiry into the spate of EJKs by filing Resolution No. 9 and presided over the first few hearings therein of the Committee on Justice and Human Rights until she was ousted as its Chairperson.
Based on news reports, the retired OFW from Saudi Arabia, identified as Allan Rafael, died while in police custody after being detained for “breach of peace” and alleged possession of illegal drugs. Rafael retired from work due to his cancer treatment.
Allan was reportedly driving along Quiapo where he was arrested at a checkpoint. The police officers purportedly stole the latter’s watch and forced him to withdraw cash from the bank before taking him to the Barbosa Police Community Precinct last Aug. 2.
While police claimed that Rafael died due to difficulty in breathing, his family, however, believes he was beaten to death.
De Lima said Rafael may be its newest victim, but his story is eerily similar to those killed under the government’s bloody war on drugs whose narratives include “napagkamalan, nataniman ng pekeng ebidensya, napagdiskitahan.”
“Ilan pa bang gaya ni Allan ang pahihirapan at papatayin bago tuluyang matauhan ang administrasyong ito sa kabaliwan ng kanilang peke at palpak na gyera kontra droga?” she asked,
“There seems to be no end to these senseless and brutal killings, especially given Duterte’s SONA pronouncement that his drug war would be relentless and chilling. Kung galing mismo ang deklarasyon at utos mula sa pinakamataas, paanong hindi susunod ang mga abusadong tauhan sa ibaba?” she added.
De Lima has branded the Duterte administration’s anti-drug policy as a dismal failure in stopping criminal syndicates from carrying their nefarious activities but instead led to the thousands of killings of individuals, including children and students.
Even in detention, De Lima remains the staunchest critic of the government’s all-out war on drugs despite deliberate efforts to harass and silence her from speaking out against the rampant human rights violations in the country.