Opposition senators want ‘Cebu killings’ probed
Senators from the minority bloc have called on the Senate to conduct an investigation into the recent killings in Cebu, some of which, they said, were allegedly committed by police officers.
A statement sent by the camp of detained Senator Leila de Lima on Thursday said opposition senators have filed Senate Resolution No. 915 because they were “gravely concerned” with the killings in Cebu, especially after allegations that police officers implementing the government’s war on drugs are involved in extra-judicial killings.
“The allegation that police officers themselves are behind some of the killings is highly disturbing,” the senators said in the resolution.
“As duty bearers, the PNP must observe proper operational procedures in order to fulfill the organization’s obligation with respect to human rights-based policing,” they added.
Earlier reports said that 14 drug personalities were killed last Thursday in the cities of Cebu and Talisay, nine of which were slain in the police’s “one-time, big-time” (OTBT) anti-drug campaign.
Five others were found dead in Barangay Malubog in Cebu City. Local police have denied any involvement in the incident at Malubog, but two survivors said police officers brought them to the area where they were shot.
The senators also noted that authorities can only use force when it is “strictly necessary, for legal law enforcement purposes. They also called out the police for using the pretext of “resisting arrest” as a cause of death among drug suspects apprehended in anti-drug operations.
“The recurring narrative of ‘nanlaban’ – or suspects having resisted arrest – has been serving as a wrongful justification for fatalities during the conduct of police operations to curtail proliferation of illegal drugs,” the senators said.
President Rodrigo Duterte, who promised before the 2016 Presidential elections to rid the country of drugs, has been criticized for leading a brutal and bloody war on illegal drugs.
According to data from the PNP, around 4,800 have died in the wake of police operations. However, critics of the administration have placed the drug-war death toll at around 20,000. /muf
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