De Lima: 12 witnesses to face Senate probe on summary killings
Twelve witnesses to at least eight cases of killings will face the Senate inquiry on the rise of alleged extrajudicial killings and summary executions in the country, Senator Leila de Lima said on Monday.
“We have invited witnesses, families and relatives of the victims who will be allowed to share under oath their stories and accounts of the alleged killings. Their corresponding testimonies are supported by their respective affidavits, which will be forwarded to the proper agencies for investigation and/or prosecution,” De Lima said when she opened the hearing of the Senate committee on justice and human rights, which she chairs, on the spate of killings in the country.
“Mayroon po tayong 12 saksi sa walong kaso ng pagpatay na may 11 mga biktima. Malinaw po na ang mga kasong ito ay maliit na bahagi lamang ng mahigit 1,000 insidente ng pagpatay sa operasyon ng mga pulis o ng mga hindi kilalang salarin. Sa pamamagitan nila, nais natin na malaman ang kwento sa likod ng mga insidente ng pagpatay,” she said.
(We have 12 witnesses to the eight cases of killings with 11 victims. It is clear that these cases comprise a small number of more than 1,000 incidents of killings through police operations or vigilante killings. Through their accounts, we would like to know the stories behind the incidents of killings.)
Some of these witnesses, De Lima said, had approached and sought for the help of the Commission on Human Rights.
The senator clarified that her committee had no plan to investigate all cases of killings as they only wanted to get answers on the many questions raised behind some of these deaths.
“Buhay po ng tao ang pinag uusapan dito, hindi lang basta numero. Sa bawat natagpuang bangkay sa kalsada, may nawalan ng kapatid, magulang at asawa, may naulilang pamilya, may gumuhong kinabukasan at pag-asa,” she said.
(We are talking about human lives here, not just numbers. In every body found on the streets, a person lost a sibling, parent and spouse, a family has been orphaned, the future and hope have been shattered.)
“I strongly believe, extrajudicial or extralegal killings, whether perpetrated by the state or by non-state actors, must stop. Blatant disregard fro human life has to stop.”
“It is for these reasons that we hold this Senate inquiry in aid of legislation to address the rampant summary executions of alleged drug suspects,” De Lima added.
De Lima also clarified that the Senate probe was not meant to stop or weaken the government’s war on illegal drugs.
“Nais pa nating palakasin ito, habang sinisigurong walang batas na nilalabag, walang karapatang niyuyurakan, at walang buhay na nilalapastangan,” the senator added.
(We want to strenghten it, while we make sure that the law is upheld, no human right is breached, and no life has been violated)
The hearing is being conducted jointly with the committee on public order and dangerous drugs chaired by Senator Panfilo Lacson. RAM/rga
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