De Lima denounces summary execution
When you kill a man who is about to surrender, the act is nothing less than a summary execution.
Sen. Leila de Lima said this on Wednesday when she was asked by reporters if she would include in her Senate inquiry the case of a Pasay City pedicab driver who was shot and killed despite an apparent intent to surrender during a police operation early on Tuesday.
“It is clear that that was really illegal, that it was a criminal act … You will kill just like that … [killing] someone [who was] about to surrender without a chance to defend himself is certainly a summary execution,” De Lima, chair of the Senate committee on justice and human rights, said in an interview.
Asked if she would include the case in her committee’s inquiry into police “scalawags” involved in alleged extrajudicial executions while carrying out President Duterte’s war against illegal drugs, she said: “Yes, if there is a CCTV (footage of the incident), that’s possible.”
A closed-circuit TV video captured the exchange between police and the drug suspect, Eric Sison, just minutes before he was shot.
Sison was heard shouting that he was going to surrender, followed by gunshots, according to the video footage played on TV newscasts on Tuesday night. Police claimed Sison fired first.
As of Tuesday, the police reported that 756 drug suspects had been killed since July 1 for putting up a resistance against the authorities.
Another 1,160 deaths are under investigation, including 212 suspected vigilante killings, with the bodies found hogtied, bound with tape, or with cardboards declaring them drug pushers.
Philippine National Police Director General Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa told the Senate on Tuesday that erring officers would be held answerable.
De Lima has by far presented two witnesses whose loved ones, all admitted drug pushers, were allegedly killed by policemen. She said she had nine other witnesses to present in hearings yet to be scheduled.
“We have also been receiving feelers since the first day of our hearing, people sending on Facebook, through texts to my staff, that they also want to come forward to the CHR (Commission on Human Rights) or to me because something happened to their loved ones,” she said.
“We will look at that because I have a team now accessing these witnesses who are willing, then they validate the story before they are presented to me,” she said.
The witnesses, she earlier said, could point to the operation of scalawags on the police force out to eliminate people who could link them to illegal drug activities.
CHR Chair Jose Luis Gascon on Wednesday called on the PNP to investigate Tuesday’s incident in Pasay.
“This casts doubt on the ‘nanlaban’ (fight back) defense posited regarding deaths during police operations and prompts a thorough review of all cases,” Gascon said.
De Lima, an outspoken critic of Mr. Duterte since her tenure as CHR chair, has been accused by the President of having used drug money to fund her senatorial campaign, employing her driver, whom he described as her lover, to collect from convicted drug lords directing their narcotics business from New Bilibid Prison when she was the justice secretary of former President Benigno Aquino III.
On Tuesday, Mr. Duterte said he had a matrix that would link De Lima to the drug trade and that he would release the chart soon.
The President’s allies in the House of Representatives have proposed an inquiry into activities of convicted drug lords in the national penitentiary.
Asked for comment on Wednesday, De Lima said her close friends had advised her “not to speak on the issue for now because it seems it is never ending.”
“All that I could say now, I say it again, those accusations of my alleged drug links are a complete falsehood and an absolute lie,” she said. With a report from Dona Z. Pazzibugan
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