Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has called on her fellow Filipinos to continue demanding for justice and accountability from the individuals responsible for the relentless killings under the government’s murderous war on drugs.
De Lima, a known human rights defender, maintained that the unjust killing of Kian de los Santos a year ago has proven that Duterte’s all-out war on drugs is not only anti-poor but is also a dismal failure.
“Ang paghahanap ng katarungan sa sinapit ni Kian ang siya ring naging panawagan ng libo-libong naulila ng mga biktima ng madugong polisiya ng rehimeng Duterte, na pawang mga maralita, kabilang na ang mga walang kalaban-laban at inosenteng bata,” she said in her latest Dispatch from Crame No. 362.
“Huwag nating kalimutan ang karumal-dumal na mga krimen ni Duterte at ang paghahanap ng katarungan para sa mga biktima at kanilang pamilya. [S]a pagwawalang-kibo, mauulit at mauulit lang ang pagpaslang sa mga batang gaya ni Kian–na pinagkaitang mabuhay at tuparin ang kanilang mga pangarap,” she added.
The senseless killing of De los Santos by police officers during an “Oplan Galugad” operation in Caloocan City last Aug. 16, 2017 has sparked public outrage and turned the spotlight to the government’s war on drugs.
In a surveillance footage, De los Santos, tagged by cops as a drug courier, was seen being dragged by the police to a place where his body was later found, raising questions about an official police report claiming that the teenager fired at police officers first.
Amid the public outcry more than a year ago, the Senate conducted an investigation into the killing of De los Santos, which De Lima missed, because the Supreme Court failed to act on her plea to attend the said Senate inquiry.
The Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Social Justice, Welfare and Rural Development urged the citizenry to continue praying for De los Santos’ soul, and for the quest for justice for his family and the thousands killed in the all-out war on drugs.
“For now, we pause and pray for your victims. As we remember Kian, we remember how we need to stand up and protect human rights, democracy and morality in our society,” she said.
De Lima likewise warned Duterte that stepping down from office will not let him off the hook, considering that he is the mastermind for the spate of killings in the country.
“If resigning is what you are thinking of doing, by all means, just go on, Duterte. No more empty talks and false bravado or promises. Don’t think for one second, though, that quitting will let you off the hook. Justice will soon catch up on you. You shall answer and will be made accountable for your crimes against humanity,” she said.
The Senator from Bicol also criticized Duterte for admitting that he is incapable of eradicating drugs in the country and that the situation will only worsen after his term.
“This, after he bragged about putting an end to the problem within three to six months, and his pronouncement during the last SONA that this war would be relentless and chilling,” she recalled.
“Kung sabagay, ganito naman mamuno si Duterte: Walang direksyon. Puro yabang, puro ngawngaw. Matapos udyukan at kunsintihin ang pagpatay ng 23,000 na Pilipino, saka niya aamining palpak ang madugong War on Drugs?” she added.
In 2016, De Lima filed Senate Resolution No. 9 to investigate the series of killings which were done extrajudicially or summarily on suspected drug offenders since the present administration launched its all-out war on drugs.