Poe seeks Senate probe into ‘gruesome’ deaths of teens
Senator Grace Poe wants the Senate to look into the spate of killings of minors in the country as she strongly condemned the recent “gruesome deaths” of three teenagers.
In Senate Resolution No. 498 she filed on Thursday, Poe urged the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs to conduct the investigation into these deaths of minors and other youth that she said had resulted from the government’s war on drugs in either police operations or vigilante-style killings.
“Before we plummet into chaos and utter savagery, the recent brutal deaths of Kian, Carl, and Reynaldo, and of the other youth victims who came before them, should serve as a wake-up call and a reminder that we are a country of laws and morals,” she said in a resolution.
The senator was referring to 17-year-old Kian Loyd Santos, who was killed in a drug operation last August 16; 19-year-old Carl Angelo Arnaiz, who was reportedly gunned down after attempting to rob a taxi driver also Caloocan City on August 18, and his companion, 14-year-old, Reynaldo de Guzman, who was found dead only last September 6.
“Policymakers should condemn the utter disregard of human life by some police officers, who have sworn to protect and serve the people in carrying out the strong directive of the State to weed out illegal drugs activities,” she said.
Thus, Poe said, it was imperative for the Senate” to determine whether these killings were arbitrary executions caused by excessive, disproportionate and illegitimate use of force of law by law enforcement officers.”
“Given these increasingly gruesome deaths, we must ensure that the operational protocols of law enforcement agencies strictly adhere to the enshrined rights in our laws and international conventions,” she said.
“The plea for justice of the victims’ relatives should not fall on deaf ears; the senseless killing of innocent Filipinos, especially minors, under the cloak of addressing the country’s drug problem should be addressed by relevant legislation, policy recommendations, and impartial investigation,” the senator added.
Poe said appropriate charges should be filed against law enforcement officers who are found in violation of laws pertinent to children in conflict with the law (CICL).
The senator noted that the Philippines was a signatory to the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989), which provides that “children in conflict with the law (CICL) have the right to treatment that promotes their sense of dignity and worth takes into account their age and aims at their reintegration into society.”
Republic Act No. 9344 or the Juvenile Justice Act, she said, also provides that every child in conflict with the law should have the right not to be subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
Poe pointed out that under the law, a law enforcement officer has the obligation to avoid the use of violence or unnecessary force on the child taken into custody, and to explain to the child in simple language why he/she is being placed under custody and the offense that he/she allegedly committed. JPV
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