CHR renews call for gov’t to probe arbitrary killings
MANILA, Philippines — As the country observes the Day of Sanctity and Protection of Human Life, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) on Sunday reiterated its calls to the government to investigate all allegations of arbitrary killings and to bring all perpetrators to justice.
In a statement on Sunday, CHR spokesperson Jacqueline de Guia enjoined the public to “unite in calling a stop to the killings.”
“Due process and rule of law need to prevail to prevent loss of life,“ she said. “If impunity continues, each Filipino is only as safe as the most vulnerable among us.”
De Guia’s call comes amid reports that, of the 2,000 extrajudicial killings recorded by the CHR, only 10 have reached the courts. These new numbers illustrate only what the International Criminal Court noted last year: that the Philippine justice system may not be doing enough to prosecute perpetrators during arbitrary killings under the brutal war on drugs.
In Western Visayas, bishops have called for a thorough investigation of the killings of nine tribal leaders in Capiz on Dec. 30, adding that the government must put a stop to the militarization of indigenous peoples’ communities so that they may “live in peace again.”
In a pastoral letter signed by the Metropolitan Sees of Jaro and Capiz on Friday, the bishops said the brutal killings of the Tumandok tribespeople caused a “climate of fear and uncertainties among residents of Tumanduk communities.”
“Fear forced many to leave their communities and migrate to more secure places in the Poblacion in the houses of relatives. Fear also forced many to surrender to authorities to clear their names or admit that they were former members and supporters of the [Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing, the New People’s Army],” they said.
The bishops added that little had been done to do justice for the thousands of other victims of police brutality and the war on drugs .
The bishops urged the government, Church leaders and business community to “listen to the legitimate cries of the Tumandoks against the construction of the Jalaur Mega Dam.”
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