Pangilinan laments spate of killings: The rule of law is under siege
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Francis Pangilinan on Monday lamented that the “rule of law is under siege” amid the spate of killings in the country.
“This has been happening regularly. Almost daily killings left and right. Whether it’s involving policemen in a shootout or lawyers lawyering for suspected communists or farmers, groups, human rights organizations,” Pangilinan said in an interview on ABS-CBN News Channel.
“The rule of law is under siege and this is a challenge,” he added.
There have been over 50 lawyers killed since the start of the Duterte administration, Pangilinan noted.
“And if you go back, as far back as the Marcos regime, they’re saying a total of 80 lawyers have been killed in connection with cases that they’re handling. So 54 of the 80 have happened in the last four years. So that gives you a sense of precisely the rule of law under siege,” he said.
“And the police who have repeatedly been involved in abuses and questionable shootouts, patuloy pa rin ang nakikita natin, the wanton disregard for the law, the impunity and the defense of the administration towards these abuses and these excesses in violence,” he added.
Nevertheless, Pangilinan welcomed the relief of the chief of the Calbayog City police, Lt. Col. Neil Montaño, over the deadly shooting of Mayor Ronaldo Aquino and five others.
Aside from the mayor’s death, Philippine National Police (PNP) officer in charge Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar said Montaño was also relieved due to “the irresponsible conduct” of the Calbayog police’s intelligence officer, where he asked the local court for a list of lawyers representing alleged members of communist groups.
“We welcome the relief but we hope to see accountability,” Pangilinan said.
Meanwhile, the senator urged the public to exercise vigilance and to voice their opposition to the spate of killings in the country.
“Vigilance is key, public outcry and organized efforts to oppose these incidents are also key,” he said.
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