De Lima outraged by continued EJKs amid pandemic

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Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has denounced the continued senseless killings in the country, particularly in the Quezon City slums, which she considers as a product of the culture of killings propagated by no less than President Rodrigo Duterte.

De Lima, the staunchest critic of Duterte’s murderous war on drugs, cited the recent murder of a resident from Brgy. Pinyahan in Quezon City, whose death adds up to the snowballing record of extrajudicial killings recorded amid the ongoing global health crisis.

“When will these EJKs ever stop? EJKs per se are already diabolical and insane. But what’s more insane about all these is the fact that they all happened amid a pandemic where people struggle with ways to survive the crisis,” she said.

According to Fr. Robert Reyes, another barbaric killing was recorded in his parish in Brgy. Pinyahan last Oct. 10, which is the 12th killing recorded in that area, which is ironically located near the headquarters of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), since January 2020.

Reyes said the victim named Melchor Unadhoy, 38, was shot on the face with a sack inserted into his mouth while his fingers were all crushed. The victim was fetched from his place last Oct. 10. Police from Baras, Rizal found his lifeless body and another victim at Brgy. Dinugay of said municipality last Oct. 11.

The lady Senator from Bicol expressed alarm at the unabated killings often targeting the poor and vulnerable, stressing that there could be more deaths that remain unrecorded.

“How many more EJKs, mostly unreported, are happening out there? Talagang nakatatakot at nakababagabag na ang kademonyohan ng mga nasa likod ng mga walang habas na pamamaslang na ito.

“Sa gitna ng pandemya kung kailan libo-libo na ang binawian ng buhay, nagkakasakit at nababahala sa kanilang kaligtasan, ay lalo pang lumubha ang kultura ng karahasan at pagpatay,” she said.

“Ganito ang resulta ng pagkakaroon ng isang gobyernong pinamumunuan ng Pangulong diyablo, isang berdugong walang pakundangan sa halaga ng buhay at dignidad ng kapwa. Hindi magtatagal, mananagot itong si Duterte sa batas ng tao, lalong-lalo na, sa batas ng Diyos,” she added.

De Lima, a known social justice and human rights champion here and abroad, stressed that the Filipino public should “tirelessly demand accountability for the unabated killings happening in the country to ensure justice for all EJK victims and their families left behind.”

Last Sept. 22, De Lima filed Senate Bill No. 1842 which seeks to define and criminalize extrajudicial killings and related acts and guarantee state obligations to effectively investigate and properly document EJKs which remain unabated amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

De Lima first filed SB No. 1197, also known as the “Anti-Extrajudicial Killing Act” during the 17th Congress and refiled the said bill this 18th Congress as SB No. 371, but it gathered dust in the Senate Justice and Human Rights Committee under the Chairmanship of Senator Richard Gordon. (30)

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