Probe into spate of political killings sought in Senate
MANILA, Philippines — An investigation into the series of political killings in the country has been sought in the Senate.
Senator Risa Hontiveros lodged Senate Resolution No. 518, compelling the appropriate panel to conduct an inquiry on the assassination of Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo and the series of political and attempted political assassinations in the country.
“These killers are so emboldened, the violence happens in broad daylight. Wala na silang hiya o takot (They do not have shame nor fear),” Hontiveros said in a statement on Monday.
“Even more disturbing, uniformed personnel are complicit or actively involved. In the case of Gov. Degamo’s assassination, at least 5 others were also killed. This culture of impunity is a grave danger to the public,” she added.
For Hontiveros, the probe will address the culture of impunity in the Philippines.
“A Senate investigation should be conducted not only to exact justice for the victims, but also to identify the underlying drivers of the killings, particularly the failure and inaction of our institutions, especially our law enforcement agencies, to address political violence, as well as election-related violence,” the resolution read.
The opposition senator said that the Commission on Elections (Comelec) should review its processes for resolving election-related disputes and violence.
“COMELEC’s processes have become increasingly ineffective and inefficient. The inordinate delay of COMELEC en banc rulings may have aggravated vindictiveness. Election-related killings tarnish the sanctity of our elections, which COMELEC is responsible for protecting. Their call of duty is beyond election day,” she said.
Degamo’s family said that the killing of the governor may be politically motivated.
Hontiveros noted that under the first months of the administration of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., there have been seven killings and attempted assassinations in the country.
“Huwag nating gawin normal ang patayan (Let us not normalize killings). The past years have encouraged murder as a default way of silencing and manipulating. Our people are not just collateral damage of political agendas,” she said.
“It is time for a rude awakening for those who abuse their power. The government must take a strong stand as an institution to condemn these killings and to take concrete actions to end this savagery,” she continued.
Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Joel Villanueva likewise filed Senate Resolution No. 517, expressing the sense of the Senate strongly condemning the recent spate of killings and attacks against government officials and private persons.
Villanueva’s resolution likewise called on the Philippine National Police to undertake necessary steps in ensuring the public’s safety.
It was signed by Villanueva, Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri, Senate President Pro Tempore Loren Legarda, Senators JV Ejercito, Nancy Binay, Grace Poe, Raffy Tulfo, Sonny Angara, Ronald dela Rosa, Ramon Revilla Jr., Francis Tolentino, Sherwin Gatchalian, Jinggoy Estrada, Mark Villar, and Christopher Go.