Roque: ‘Hypocrites’ De Lima, Gascon signed AO on EJKs
Malacañang on Monday called Senator Leila de Lima and Commission on Human Rights (CHR) Chair Chito Gascon “hypocrites” for insisting that drug users killed in the government’s war on drugs were victims of extrajudicial killings (EJKs).
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque reminded de Lima and Gascon of Administrative Order No. 35 (AO 35) adopted during the term of former president Benigno Aquino III.
The President’s spokesperson pointed out that De Lima and Gascon signed A0 35 which does not include drug pushers, drug users and other common criminals as probable victims of EJKs.
De Lima was then secretary of Justice while Gascon was undersecretary for political affairs of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Political Affairs.
Roque said it was high time for de Lima and Gascon to invoke AO 35 as former members of the Inter-Agency Committee (IAC) on Extra-Legal Killings, Enforced Disappearances, Torture and Other Grave Violations of the Right to Life, Liberty and Security of Persons.
“In the said order, the two, among other signatories of the AO, defined extra-legal killings (ELKs) or extra-judicial killings (EJKs) as killings wherein the victim was a member of, or affiliated with an organization, to include political, environmental, agrarian, labor, or similar causes; or an advocate of these causes; or a media practitioner; or person(s) apparently mistaken or identified to be so,” Roque said in a statement.
Roque said the order stated that “victim was targeted and killed because of the actual or perceived membership, advocacy, or profession.”
“The person/s responsible for the killing is a state agent or non-state agent; and the method and circumstances of attack reveal a deliberate intent to kill,” he said.
“Moreover, they added that for purposes of the focused mandate of AO No. 35, killings related to common criminals and/or the perpetration of their crimes shall be addressed by other appropriate, mechanisms within the justice system,” he added.
Roque then questioned why de Lima and Gascon were now calling that those drugs users and pushers who died under the government’s drug war were victims of EJKs.
“How is it now that when drug pushers or users die, Senator De Lima and Chairman Gascon insist that these are EJKs?” he said.
“Their sudden about-face is baffling given that these drug pushers and users are not members or affiliated with any political, environmental, agrarian, or labor organization. These drug pushers or users are likewise not journalists,” he added.
If the two believed then that the AO they adopted was correct and in accordance with the law, Roque said “they should be the first to defend the Duterte administration’s campaign against illegal drugs because the AO No. 35 signed by former President Benigno Aquino III is correct.”
“But if they believe today that the reported deaths in the war on drugs are EJKs, they should also admit to the nation and to the world that what they did during the Aquino administration was wrong and that Aquino only signed AO No. 35 so that his administration would not be blamed for the deaths of drug pushers and users during his presidency,” he said.
The Palace official said it was now time to expose the hypocrisies of de Lima and Gascon.
“It is high time that the hypocrisies of Senator De Lima and Chairman Gascon are exposed in favor of the truth. The Filipino people deserve no less,” he said. /cbb
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