Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima criticized Malacanang’s dismissal of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) report on President Rodrigo Duterte’s War on Drugs stating, among others, that the Duterte Administration leaves a legacy of impunity as it failed to protect the rights of Filipinos.
De Lima said it is expected of the present administration to “deny up to its last dying breath” the fact that its drug war has brutally claimed the lives of thousands of Filipinos, as it dismisses the CHR’s report as “rehashed issues”.
“This is the cavalier position that the Duterte Administration has taken since day one, without ever responding properly to similar reports from human rights organizations like Amnesty International (AI) and Human Rights Watch (HRW) in the past six years.
“As such, not one of these reports can be said to be a ‘rehash’ if the Duterte Administration has not seriously investigated or put a stop to the killings which were undeniably carried out upon the declarations of Duterte himself,” she said in her Dispatch from Crame No. 1263.
“It has been the trademark of this outgoing administration for its spokespersons to defend the human rights record of Duterte even while he simultaneously makes pronouncements that he does not care about human rights, and thereafter orders the PNP that the more they kill, the more it pleases him,” she added.
In a 48-page report, titled “Investigated Killings in Relation to the Anti-Illegal Drug Campaign,” released recently, the CHR said Duterte will leave a government that has “failed in its obligations to protect human rights” and that has “encouraged a culture of impunity.”
In the same report, the CHR concluded that police officers involved in the “drug war” showed “intent to kill” and used “excessive force” in their anti-illegal drug operations.
Reportedly, the CHR study analyzed 882 case dockets involving 1,139 victims, 920 of whom were killed, while seven (7) cases have remained unresolved.
Acting presidential spokesperson and Communications Secretary Martin Andanar merely dismissed the CHR report as a “rehash of old issues.”
De Lima said the Duterte administration can go on dismissing reports as “rehashed”, but the records and evidence are already finding their way to international bodies such as the International Criminal Court (ICC).
“No lame denial will ever suffice insofar as the world’s awareness of what happened in the Philippines in the past six years of the Duterte Administration is concerned,” she said.
It may be recalled that De Lima filed a communication with the ICC in October 2017 to complement the communications submitted by the late Atty. Jude Sabio, and former lawmakers Antonio “Sonny” Trillanes IV and Gary Alejano against Duterte.
The communication included statements of self-confessed hitman Edgar Matobato and retired police officer Arturo Lascañas that they killed people in Davao City upon the orders of then Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.
The lady Senator from Bicol said the incoming administration should take the opportunity to disprove serious concerns that like the Duterte Administration, it won’t be putting human rights at the top of its agenda.
“It should start by appointing a new set of competent and credible CHR Chairperson and Commissioners to carry out the mandate of the CHR to the fullest extent. More than that, it should put an end to Duterte’s drug war and stop the killing of Filipinos,” she said. (30)