De Lima conveys appreciation to Tarlac City Council for supporting her Anti-EJK Bill


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Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has extended her appreciation to the City Government of Tarlac for conveying their support for her anti-extrajudicial killings (EJK) bill through a City Council Resolution.

De Lima, the primary author of Senate Bill (SB) No. 1842 or the “Anti- Extrajudicial Killings Act of 2020” and a known human rights defender here and abroad, said she is grateful to know that Filipinos “have another defender in the City Council of Tarlac.”

“This is to convey my deepest appreciation to the Tarlac City Council for initiating and adopting City Council Resolution No. VIII-37-568 last 29 September 2020, in support of SB No. 1842 or the Anti- Extrajudicial Killings Act of 2020,” she stated in a letter.

“The adoption of this City Council Resolution affirms the truth behind extrajudicial killings and highlights the need for the establishment of an unequivocal policy along with a decisive response from our government,” said De Lima, the staunchest critic of Duterte’s war on drugs.

Under City Council Resolution No. VIII-37-568, it is stated that “the Sangguniang Panlunsod ng Tarlac, hereby, conveys its strong support for the Senate Bill No. 1842, authored by Senator Leila De Lima, which seeks to hold those who ordered and cooperated in the commission of [EJKs] liable as the actual killer themselves.”

“EJKs are linked, not just to ex-convicts with drug-related cases, but also human rights defenders and critics of the government, including activists, journalists, church leaders, trade union leaders, indigenous and peasant leaders, and individuals who are members of groups affiliated with the political left,” part of the resolution read.

De Lima’s SB No. 1842, which is adopted from the UP-Law Center Institute of Human Rights (UP IHR) paper, provides for the definition of important terms and accountabilities that would prevent the perpetrators of EJKs from circumventing the law.

It seeks to define EJK as “the unlawful or arbitrary killing or arbitrary deprivation of life committed by State agents or non-State actors,” who are either “acting under actual or apparent authority, or color of law, or upon the instruction of, or under the direction or control of, or by policy, order or behest of, the State in carrying out the conduct…”

De Lima’s measure also mandates that State officials who have authority to investigate extrajudicial killings must be rigorously trained on effective investigation to come up with science-based and objective assessment of the incident and be free from interference from officials involved, among others.

Meanwhile, Fr. Flavie Villanueva, SVD, Head and Founder of Program Paghilom, commended both De Lima and the City Government of Tarlac for bravely standing up for human rights and fighting for the vulnerable members of the society.

“[I] laud the courageous efforts of Senator Leila de Lima who despite being persecuted and illegally detained, remains to be a beacon of hope and a voice of the oppressed,” he said.

“Inspired by Senator De Lima’s resolve and spirit for justice and peace, I salute the heroic efforts of the City of Government of Tarlac for adopting Resolution No. VIII-37-568, an example that I hope and pray will be emulated by other local governments, especially during these darkest moments of our national history,” he added.

Program Paghilom was established to help widows, orphans, family members and communities of EJK victims in healing and rebuilding their lives. (30)

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