Philippines Report

Minority senators press end to drug killings

The Senate minority bloc on Saturday called on their fellow senators to stand against the recent spate drug-related killings that have left more than 80 people dead, including a a 17-year-old Grade 11 student Kian Loyd Delos Santos in Caloocan.

In a statement, members of the minority bloc said that the Senate must unite against what they consider as “senseless killings” in the administration's campaign against illegal drugs.

“Sobra na. Maling mali na talaga to. I cannot, in conscience, let this pass. The Senators should have a united stand to stop this,” Senator Antonio Trillanes IV said.

Trillanes said he will call for an all-Senators caucus on Tuesday (August 22) to bring to the fore the alarming resurgence of drug-related killings by police operatives.

For his part, Senator Bam Aquino said, “I plan to file a resolution kasi nakababahala na talaga iyong news reports.”

Aquino said that the government should rethink its strategy, saying the poor and helpless are casualties in this war while those involved in big drug cases are accorded due process.

“We cannot tolerate the alarming police impunity in the country. We need to investigate these killings of alleged drug suspects including a Grade 11 student in police operations,” Sen. Franklin Drilon said.

Drilon earlier questioned Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II at the 2018 budget hearing for their failure to investigate extrajudicial killings, with only 37 of about 4,000 deaths related to the anti-drug campaign were investigated.

Senator Francis Pangilinan, meanwhile, expressed dismay that the poor are marked as a target while more than P6-billion worth of illegal drugs can slip past the Bureau of Customs (BOC) unnoticed.

“Ang ugat ng problema sa droga ay doon nakita sa pagpuslit ng tone-toneladang shabu sa BOC ng mga sindikato kasabwat ang mga opisyal ng gobyerno,” Pangilinan said.

Senenator Risa Hontiveros also urged the government to stop the extrajudicial killings, saying that the Duterte administration cannot kill its way out of the drug problem.

“We refuse to accept these killings as normal,” Hontiveros said.

Detained Senator Leila de Lima, for her part, slammed Duterte for praising the deadly Bulacan raids that left 32 people dead within a span of 24 hours.

“Those are clear words of a deranged mind. If you say that it’s good to kill 32 people a day – that’s a deranged mind,” De Lima said, referring to Duterte's statement seemingly praising the police to for the deaths in Bulacan.

In a speech at the 19th anniversary of the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption in Malacañang, Duterte wryly suggested that perhaps a similar number of killings daily is what the anti-drug campaign needs:

“‘Yung namatay daw kanina sa Bulacan, 32, in a massive raid. Maganda ‘yun. Makapatay lang tayo ng mga another 32 every day then maybe we can reduce the … what ails this country,” he said.

News Source: GMA NEWS

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