The Senate resumes tomorrow (Sept. 15) its public hearing on the continued rise of extrajudicial killings and summary executions carried out in the government’s all-out campaign against illegal drugs in the country.
Sen. Leila M. de Lima, chairperson of the Senate Justice and Human Rights Committee, said she will present more witnesses to testify on the representative cases of drug-related killings that occurred since the anti-drug campaign has started.
“After three weeks since the committee started its inquiry, we have yet to hear the testimonies of other witnesses who can provide up not only the clearer and broader picture behind these killings but also any loopholes in enforcing our laws,” she said.
“We have also invited other resource persons from the government sector, civil society groups and human rights advocates, as well as from the media. We hope to get their views and insights on this issue,” she added.
The Senate Committees on Justice and Human Rights and on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs will hear the testimonies of at least nine witnesses for eight cases involving 11 victims of the anti-drug campaign.
Also called to shed light on the spate of extrajudicial killings are the heads of the Philippine National Police, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, the Department of the Interior and Local Government, and the National Bureau of Investigation.
Apart from the Commission on Human Rights, also invited are the leaders of various Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), notably the Philippine Human Rights Information Center, Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates, KARAPATAN, Free Legal Assistance Group, Philippine Institute of Human Rights, Ateneo Human Rights Centers and from the private media organizations.
The former justice secretary also reiterated that the Senate investigation seeks to find ways of helping the country’s law enforcement agencies improve their performance without violating any human rights or disregarding the due process of the law.
“Let me stress this point once more: the Senate inquiry presumes at all times the regularity of police operations. We are here to find ways to help law enforcement agencies fulfill their mandate more efficiently through legislative action,” she said.