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Alvarez echoes ‘sabotage’ claim, wants probe of killings

/ 05:06 AM September 12, 2017
House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez  —RICHARD A. REYES

House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez —RICHARD A. REYES

House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez has called for an investigation into the killing of minors to identify drug lords or even politicians who were supposedly sabotaging the government’s controversial “war on drugs.”

In a television interview on Monday, Alvarez stressed that “to say [the killings were] carried out by the administration is foolishness.”

According to him, the “motives” behind the “intentional” killing of 17-year-old Kian Loyd delos Santos and 19-year-old Carl Angelo Arnaiz last month “have to be investigated.” Both were shot dead by the police under questionable circumstances.

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“So what’s the motive here? Clearly, it’s to [incite people to] revolt, to stoke anger at the administration,” Alvarez said.

Ruling out the role of authorities in the killings, he pointed to two possibilities: “This might have been done by drug lords to stop the campaign against illegal drugs, or this might be due to politics.”

Sought for comment, Majority Floor Leader Rodolfo Fariñas said: “It will be up to the Speaker if he initiates such an inquiry.”

Critics of the abuses attending President Duterte’s antidrug campaign, however, stressed the need for an “objective, impartial and thorough investigation.”

Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate of the left-wing Makabayan bloc said the public must be wary of “some elements, both outside and even from the present administration, who are themselves apparently trying to confuse our people and camouflage the accountability of big-time drug lords and narcopoliticians.”

Even as he conceded the possibility, Zarate still blamed summary executions on the “government’s tacit approval of these killings.”

“It is good that Speaker Alvarez sees the need to investigate the cases of extrajudicial killings, and we urge the House leadership to prioritize and immediately set the hearings to probe the extrajudicial killings in the country,” he said, noting that his bloc’s resolution calling for such an investigation has been pending since last year.

Magdalo party-list Rep. Gary Alejano, however, questioned the timing of Alvarez’s call, done right after the government raised the possibility of sabotage.

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“Where has the Speaker been for the past year? Isn’t he aware that thousands have died in the war on drugs? Many sectors have long called for an investigation of the alleged EJKs,” he said.

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TAGS: Carl Angelo Arnaiz, drug killings, extrajudicial killings, Kian Loyd delos Santos, Pantaleon Alvarez, Rodrigo Duterte, war on drugs
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