‘War on our children?’ Senate probe sought into death of kids, teens in police ops
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Risa Hontiveros has called for a Senate investigation into police operations that have killed children and teens.
Senator Hontiveros proposed the inquiry in Senate Resolution No. 776, which she filed after the death of 16-year-old Johndy Maglinte and companion Antonio Dalit in an alleged shootout in Biñan, Laguna.
Hontiveros said that another minor is dead because of the war on drugs, a “grim pattern” that needs to end.
“Is this a war on our children? These deaths are more than just ‘operational lapses’. This is a total and disgusting disregard for the life of children,” she said in a statement Tuesday.
“This is not the first time a minor was killed because of sloppy police operations. This pattern of unimaginable state cruelty must stop immediately,” she added.
According to the family of Maglinte, the teen “was handcuffed and lying face down when he was shot by the cops,” the resolution read.
Contrary to police reports, Maglinte and Dalit did not “trade shots with the officers while they were serving a warrant of arrest to Dalit,” Hontiveros noted in her resolution.
“Dapat, walang batang namamatay sa kamay ng mga pulis,” the senator went on.
(No kid should die at the hands of the police.)
“Bilang nanay ng apat na anak at biyuda ng isang pulis [As a mother of four and a widow of a policeman], I will strongly pursue this investigation at the Senate. It is high time we change the way our police behave during anti-illegal drugs operations,” she added.
Hontiveros, who chairs the Senate Committee on Women, Children, Family Relations and Gender Equality, cited data from a study conducted by the World Organisation against Torture which showed that at least 122 children—including a one-year-old—have been killed during anti-drug operations and “vigilante-style killings” after 2016.
Even so, the senator commended the Philippine National Police (PNP) chief for his immediate action for initiating an investigation into the Laguna killing and placing the involved officers in the custody of the Calabarzon police.
“This is the kind of response we need to start real cultural change inside the PNP. I believe Eleazar is up to the challenge of transforming existing police protocols to reduce misconduct among their ranks. As an institution, it should be unacceptable that minors are dying [at] the hands of police,” Hontiveros said.
“We need to put an end to these needless deaths. Naninindigan akong kailanman ay hindi katumbas ng buhay ng mga bata ang mga pangakong napako ng administrasyong ito. The golden rule should be: Never our kids. That is not up for debate,” she added.
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