Senate probe of Cebu slays urged

/ 05:30 AM October 12, 2018

DEATH HILL Forensics investigators retrieve the bodies of five persons killed in the village of Malubog in Cebu City. —TONEE DESPOJO/CEBU DAILY NEWS

The opposition in the Senate is seeking an inquiry into recent killings in Cebu province, some of which were allegedly carried out by policemen.

A statement released by the office of detained Sen. Leila de Lima on Thursday said the minority bloc filed Resolution No. 915 because the lawmakers were “gravely concerned,” especially after allegations were raised that some of the slayings were extrajudicial killings perpetrated by policemen pressing President Duterte’s war on drugs.


“The allegation that police officers themselves are behind some of the killings is highly disturbing,” the opposition senators said in the statement.

The minority bloc is composed of Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon and Senators De Lima, Bam Aquino, Risa Hontiveros, Kiko Pangilinan and Antonio Trillanes IV.


14 killed in one day

Earlier reports said 14 drug suspects were killed on Oct. 3 in the cities of Cebu and Talisay, nine of them slain in the Philippine National Police’s “One-Time, Big-Time” campaign against illegal drugs.

Five other drug suspects were found dead at Barangay Malubog in Cebu City on the same day.

Local police denied involvement in the Malubog killings, but two survivors said policemen brought them to the area and shot them.

The latest killings brought the number of people killed in Cebu City since Oct. 3 to 23, and to 198 in the entire province so far this year.

Of the total, 47 were killed in police operations. The rest were killed by unknown assailants.

The PNP acknowledges the killing of more than 4,800 suspects in police antidrug operations, claiming the victims had resisted arrest.


Human rights groups, however, say the real death toll could be as high as 12,000.

Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma on Thursday expressed dismay over the killings.

Special prayer

In August, Palma called for a special prayer to put an end to the killings, but these continued.

Palma appealed to Cebuanos not to lose heart and to keep on praying.

“We will never give up praying. We will never give up doing what is good,” he said.

The Senate minority slammed the police for insisting that drug suspects killed in police operations had resisted arrest.

“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 lawmakers said in their statement.


Support from CHR

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) in Central Visayas supported the Senate minority’s move for an investigation.

Arvin Odron, CHR regional director, said on Thursday that a Senate inquiry would help shed light on the killings and unmask the perpetrators.

Chief Supt. Debold Sinas, police director for Central Visayas, declined to comment.

In earlier interviews, Sinas denied police involvement in the killings. —WITH A REPORT FROM ADOR VINCENT S. MAYOL

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