‘Extrajudicial killings are criminal acts,’ presidential bets reminded
THE next administration should condemn extrajudicial killings, a lawyer said Tuesday.
Former University of the East Law Dean Amado Valdez, chairman emeritus of the Philippine Association of Law Schools, reminded aspiring presidents that extrajudicial killings are “criminal acts which cannot be justified. States that allow it as a state policy are liable under international law.”
He said US courts have jurisdiction to hold heads of states liable under the US Alien Torture Act, citing former President Ferdinand Marcos as having been ordered to pay billions in damages to human rights victims during the martial law years.
He added that there should also be an independent investigation on reported extra-judicial killings.
“The investigation should be non-political,” he said.
“With the political environment, an independent commission is in order,” Valdez said, adding that an independent body composed of members of the academe are best suited to handle the probe because they “may be the least politicized.”
Of the candidates for President, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte has been subject of an investigation by the Department of Justice (DOJ) for his alleged involvement in the Davao Death Squad (DDS), a vigilante group that kills suspected criminals in the area.
If elected, the tough-talking Duterte vowed to end criminality in the Philippines within six months of his presidency. He said he will order the police and the military to find criminals and kill them.
In previous interviews, Duterte admitted that he is the DDS but later said it was just in jest.
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