2 senators call for reforms in PNP’s war on drugs
The Philippine National Police should address concerns on extrajudicial killings (EJK) by initiating reforms in its antidrug operations rather than hide behind “technicalities” and “definitions,” two opposition senators said on Saturday.
Sen. Bam Aquino said the significant number of deaths in President Duterte’s brutal war on drugs called for urgent changes in the administration’s tack to address the drug problem in the country.
Aquino said only a small percentage of Filipinos believed in the legitimacy of these deaths.
“Unfortunately, the PNP is hiding behind definitions and not facing this issue head on,” he said in reaction to the PNP’s disclosure on Friday that there had been only one reported case of extrajudicial killing.
The PNP referred to the killing in December 2016 of Catanduanes News Now publisher Larry Que, who had written an exposé in his column about the drug trade in the province.
But the PNP later corrected itself, saying that Que’s death was just a “possible EJK” as defined by Administrative Order No. 35 of 2012.
The order defined EJKs as “violations of the right to life, liberty and security of persons whether committed as part of an apparent government policy in the past or as recurring cases of unsanctioned individual abuse of power and authority by state and nonstate forces.”
Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV also said the police’s “technicalities on EJKs” basically excluded the killing of more than 3,800 suspected drug users and pushers in police operations since last year.
Thousands more have been killed by vigilantes suspected to be working with the police, he said.
“But by the general definition of EJKs, the count is already by the thousands,” said Trillanes in a radio interview.
Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III acknowledged that the definition of EJKs was vague, but for him, there were two types of killings: those that occurred in police operations and those perpetrated by vigilantes.
“My concern is the rise in violent crimes, particularly murder. I am worried about these unexplained killings that the police cannot solve,” Pimentel said.
Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III said if there were indeed EJKs, the numbers were “blown out of proportion.”
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