Spate of killings simply murders, not EJKs, says Aquino
Murders and not extrajudicial killings (EJKs) have been taking place the past year as the Duterte administration undertakes a relentless campaign against illegal drugs, former president Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III has said.
“If you say there is extrajudicial killings, then it means there is judicial killing. But I remember, we do not have the death penalty, so there is no judicial killing. Therefore, there is no extrajudicial killing. No judicial, no extrajudicial. So clearly, there is murder, there is homicide taking place,” Aquino said in Filipino.
Asked if the killings of the suspected drug pushers and users were state-sponsored, Aquino said he has no evidence to claim such but what is clear is that the “state has an obligation to protect all its citizens and go after all those who have committed infractions against society.”
“May pinatay. May pumatay. Hanapin yung pumatay at bigyan ng kaukulang parusa,” Aquino said.
(Someone was murdered. Someone killed him. Go after the murderer and bring him to justice.)
Aquino spoke to reporters on Monday at the commemoration of the 34th death anniversary of his father, Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, Jr., whose assassination led to the Edsa People Power Revolution in 1983. The peaceful uprising toppled the Marcos dictatorship and restored democracy in the country after nearly 20 years of authoritarian rule.
“I’ve always said that however which way one looks at it, in the Constitution and in the church that I belong to, one death is one too many,” the former president said.
Senator Antonio “Sonny” Trillanes IV, a fierce critic of the Duterte administration, said that based on Philippine National Police (PNP) data, more than 3,000 suspected drug personalities have been killed since last year; more than 2,000 in drug-related homicide or murder; and another more than 5,000 deaths classified as “under investigation,” which includes those killed by “riding-in-tandem” assailants.
“But even if it’s just 1,000 dead, that’s just too many,” said Trillanes, who attended a mass for Ninoy Aquino for the first time last Monday.
Last week had been a bloody and brutal one in the Duterte administration’s campaign to end illegal drugs: 82 suspects dead in less than a week. Police claimed that the suspects fought back while resisting arrest, prompting arresting officers to shoot them dead.
But it was the killing of 17-year-old Kian Loyd delos Santos on the night of August 16 that sparked public outrage.
Aquino himself expressed shock over the death of Delos Santos — and other children who were classified as “collateral damage” in the war against drugs.
Like all those before him, Delos Santos, authorities claimed, had a gun and tried to shoot the policemen. An autopsy report showed that the Grade 12 student was shot three times, with one bullet shattering his brain.
Aquino supported an investigation into the death of Delos Santos but hoped this would not “drag for too long,” fearing the delay would result in the muddling of the case. Aquino said he also had several questions in mind about the boy’s killing.
The former president earlier earned the ire of Duterte after he criticized the administration’s war on drugs. Duterte unleashed invectives against Aquino, who kept his cool.
Of Duterte’s angry rant against him, Aquino ascribed it to his successor’s “style.”
“As they say, no one can be onion-skinned. Of course, I wasn’t happy about it. But perhaps, he might see some logic in what I said, so it would be worth it,” Aquino said, referring to Duterte unleashing invectives against him. CBB