Lacson to Church: Give us names of cops willing to talk on killings
The Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs is willing to cooperate with the Church and extend protection to policemen willing to divulge details about their alleged participation in summary executions under the government’s war on drugs, Sen. Panfilo Lacson said Tuesday.
Lacson said that the Church should provide details about the individuals involved so the committee could properly invite them.
“But yung Church should provide details, hindi pwedeng huhulaan namin sino iimbitahin (we cannot guess who we could invite),” Lacson said in an interview with reporters.
“So ako (for me), we’re willing to coordinate with the Church at kung mayroon silang mga pangalan at willing naman mag-testify yung mga pulis (if they have the names and the police are willing to testify), then why not?” he added.
Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) president, Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas said on Monday that police officers allegedly involved in extra-judicial killings have sought Church sanctuary.
Villegas said the supposed killers’ “consciences are troubling them.”
Lacson appealed to the Church to coordinate with the Senate committee by forwarding the supposed policemen’s affidavits to concerned agencies.
“Preferably, kung mayroong mga affidavits nang na-execute, i-forward, kung hindi man sa amin, sa ibang mga institutions like the PAO para magawan ng kaukulang aksyon,” he said.
The committee is also willing to conduct an executive session if there are a lot of policemen, and can even provide protective custody and legislative immunity to those involved, the senator said.
“We will not shy away naman from our mandated task to conduct investigation,” he said.
“Yes, pwede bigyan ng protective custody, pwedeng bigyan ng legislative immunity para hindi magamit yung tetestify nila against them sa labas,” he added.
Lacson, however, was careful in calling the spate of killings under President Rodrigo Duterte’s violent campaign against illegal drugs as “extra-judicial killings.” He pointed out that agencies have been cooperative in investigating the deaths and alleged abuses.
“Yun nga e, ako I’m as intrigued as anybody whether talagang mayroong (there really is) state-sponsored extra-judicial killings. Kasi hanggang ngayon nanghuhula pa rin tayo e (Because until now we are guessing if there is such),” he said.
He said in the Senate investigation into the deaths of teens, the leadership of the Philippine National Police, the National Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Justice and the Public Affairs Office have been cooperative.
“Intriga pa rin sa akin kung state-sponsored nga ba ito? Kasi kung state-sponsored, all the way up, ito-tolerate nila, hindi sila magco-cooperate,” Lacson explained.
(It’s still an intrigue for me if the deaths were state-sponsored. Because if it’s state-sponsored, they will tolerate it all the way up, and they will not cooperate.)