De Lima to PNP: Prove drug war victims fought back
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine National Police must present proof that the individuals killed in antidrug operations had fought back against authorities, according to Sen. Leila de Lima.
De Lima made the remark after the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights expressed concern about the “extraordinarily high” number of deaths in the Duterte administration’s drug war.
UN Human Rights chief Michelle Bachelet had said that even the official number of deaths in the drug war would be “a matter of most serious concern for any country.”
Bachelet had cited a death toll of 5,245, although the PNP’s own numbers now stood at 6,600 people killed in some 153,000 antidrug operations from July 2016 to May 2019.
But PNP spokesperson Col. Bernard Banac said police operations were conducted according to the rule of law and the slain suspects put up violent resistance.
“Words are not enough. The PNP must present solid and irrefutable proof that the suspects killed in the government’s war on drugs resisted arrest and fought back,” De Lima said in a statement.
The senator, who is detained on what she described as trumped-up drug charges, has been a constant critic of President Duterte’s brutal war on drugs. —Leila B. Salaverria
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