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SHARING LAWMAKERS’ CONCERNS

Malacañang welcomes Senate probe of extrajudicial killings

/ 07:23 AM September 30, 2017

An alleged drug pusher lies dead in one of the thousands of extrajudicial killings that the United States and 38 other countries want stopped. —AFP

Malacañang on Friday said it shared senators’ concerns about extrajudicial and drug-related killings and it would welcome a legislative inquiry into the alleged involvement of police officers in the deaths.

Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella again denied that state forces were behind extrajudicial killings and said President Duterte does not tolerate crooked police officers.

“While the President is harsh against those involved in illegal drugs, he is equally appalled by misdemeanors of police scalawags,” Abella said in a statement.

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He said the administration welcomes any Senate inquiry into any wrongdoing by police personnel “as a manifestation of a freely functioning and democratic state mechanism.”

He said that from July 1, 2016 to June 15, 2017, the Philippine National Police’s Internal Affairs Service investigated more than 1,900 drug-related allegations against law enforcement officials.

There were 1,045 cases undergoing administrative proceedings and 159 law enforcement officials faced dismissal, he said.

“These erring persons in uniform do not have a place in a state organization which is a human rights duty bearer, with a primary role to protect the right to life, liberty and property of the people by way of an effective anti-illegal drug campaign,” he added.

He said the PNP has been “relentless” in its efforts to follow proper legal procedures in carrying out operations.

He said critics have overlooked the gains in the anti-illegal drugs campaign, citing the surrender of about 1.3 million drug users and the arrest of 107,156 drug suspects. A total of 578 minors have also been rescued from the drug trade, and 2,456 kilos of shabu (crystal meth) have been recovered, he added.

Senators from the majority recently filed a resolution condemning extrajudicial killings and calling on the government to exhaust all efforts to resolve these.

This followed a separate resolution that urged the government to stop the spate of killings, especially of children, and sought an inquiry focused on the “institutional reasons” for the killings.

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Detained Sen. Leila de Lima challenged her fellow senators to set aside their differences and reopen the investigation on extrajudicial killings, which she had initiated before she was ousted as chair of the Senate justice committee and arrested on charges of involvement in the drug trade.

“This is not about the quarrels of senators. This is about the killings,” she told reporters on the sidelines of a Quezon City court hearing on a charge of disobedience to the House of Representatives. “They should all come together to thoroughly probe the deaths.”

“I challenge the senators, especially members of the Senate majority, to reopen the probe,” she said. “This time, they should be serious about the investigation, and they should not whitewash,” De Lima added. —WITH A REPORT FROM JHESSET O. ENANO

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TAGS: extrajudicial killings, Philippine news updates, President Duterte, war on drugs
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