De Lima deplores reported falsified death certificates of drug war victims


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Re-electionist Senator Leila M. de Lima deplored the reported falsified death certificates of the people killed under Duterte’s “War on Drugs”, which showed that the anti-narcotics campaign was “an organized malevolent conspiracy that involved even medical professionals.”

 De Lima, the staunchest critic of the administration’s drug war, underscored the need to identify the medical professionals involved in the said falsification and encourage them to turn state witness to find out the names of the mastermind behind the inhumane act.

 “The findings of Dr. Raquel Fortun from the autopsies she conducted on the 46 exhumed bodies of victims of Duterte’s war on drugs only confirm what we have known all along, that the victims were shot and killed, summarily,” she said.

“What we did not know, and only found out from the autopsies, is that even their causes of death were faked in death certificates. Instead of gunshot wounds, the cause of death written on the death certificates was “natural causes” like heart attack, pneumonia, stroke, etc,” she added.

In a recent press briefing, Fortun reportedly said she had examined the remains of 46 people killed in Duterte’s drug war and found that the cause of death of some had been falsified and that the anti-narcotics campaign targeted “the poorest of the poor.”

 Citing her experience in studying criminal investigations of the Duterte government on the killings related to the anti-drug campaign, Fortun said she saw “no intent” on the part of the government to solve the killings, adding that “What I am seeing is really impunity.”

 De Lima believes that there must be a very compelling reason for involved doctors to falsify death certificates, such as force and intimidation, unless they were willing accomplices in the conspiracy from the very start.

“Regardless of the reason, they are liable for their criminal conduct,” she said. “They should then be encouraged to turn state witness and reveal the names of the officials who ordered them to falsify death certificates.”

The lady Senator from Bicol maintained that the Department of Justice (DOJ) should ensure the security of the doctors or medial professional involved in the falsification of death certificates because the release of the findings of Fortun has already placed their lives in danger.

 “As in any cleansing operation of a conspiracy, the first to go are those found in the lowest rung of the conspiracy, the dispensable pawns. In so far as the masterminds are concerned, those who falsified the victims’ death certificates certainly belong to this group of dispensable individuals,” she said.

“Because of this, efforts must be made by the DOJ immediately to ensure their security, if it is at all sincere in investigating and prosecuting the EJKs committed in Duterte’s drug war,” she added.

This 18th Congress, De Lima reintroduced a measure, logged as Senate Bill (SB) No. 371, seeking to define and criminalize acts that constitute extrajudicial killings and ensure accountability for said crimes. (30)

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