Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima warned Filipino voters against candidates belonging or allied to what she called as “criminal organization” responsible for the state-sponsored killings and other heinous crimes in the country.
De Lima, a social justice and human rights champion, stressed that electing officials, who have penchant for killings and have no qualms seeing people suffer, again to national office in the 2022 polls, is “the biggest mistake and greatest sin we can do to our nation.”
“Kailangan nang maka-move on ng ating bayan mula sa mapang-abusong Chief Executive na noon ay nakamit ang boto ng mamamayan sa pamamagitan ng mga matatamis na pangakong ngayon ay pakong-pako na,” she said in her Dispatch from Crame No. 1176.
“Let this breed of outgoing leaders proceed to be ex-leaders, along with their penchant for extrajudicial killings and of accumulating ill-gotten gains at the expense of our people’s continued suffering,” she added.
In urging the public to reject these candidates, De Lima cited Rappler’s current investigative series, reporting on the affidavit submitted by former Davao policeman and self-confessed Davao Death Squad (DDS) hitman Arturo Lascañas to the International Criminal Court, which she deemed to be “as explosive as any reportage can get.”
Lascañas was a local police intelligence operative and investigator for more than 34 years and a top member of the DDS for more than two decades.
The Rappler series, which began on Nov. 10, walks people through Lascañas’s story of how he and the DDS executed hundreds of victims during Duterte’s reign as Mayor of Davao City from 1988 up to 2015, further describing Lascañas’s account of how Duterte partnered with Davao drug lords, including Michael Yang.
De Lima recalled how Rappler reporters also put a crucial twist to the details contained in Lascañas’s affidavit by painstakingly corroborating and cross-referencing it to various materials on the DDS, both published and unpublished.
These materials, she shared, include records of the CHR investigation into the DDS which she led in 2009, her own personal notes thereon, records of Edgardo Matobato’s 2016 Senate testimony during the Justice Committee hearing she conducted, Matobato’s Ombudsman affidavit, and other sundry information from various sources.
“It is important that every Filipino voter reads this series at least once, especially before going to the polls in May 2022, so that they will not vote again to office individuals belonging or allied to what is basically a criminal organization responsible for the most heinous crimes committed by government officials under the cover of public office and government authority,” De Lima said.
“Let them face the wrath of justice and suffer the consequences of their atrocious deeds,” she added.
It may be recalled that Former ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda filed the request to investigate Duterte’s signature anti-narcotics campaign, including the extrajudicial killings in Davao linked to the DDS, just before her retirement in June, purporting that “state actors, primarily members of the Philippine security forces, killed thousands of suspected drug users and other civilians during official law enforcement operations.”
Significantly, De Lima was the very first to sound the alarm on EJKs being committed in the guise of Duterte’s drug war, via her privilege speeches and Proposed Senate Resolution (PSR) No. 9, directing the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights to investigate the rampant extrajudicial killings and summary executions of suspected criminals, which she filed last July 2016.
De Lima also submitted a communication to the Office of the Special Prosecutor of ICC last October 2017. (30)