Gordon seeks Senate probe on ‘drug deaths’ under police watch
After wrapping up the Senate probe on the alleged extrajudicial killings in the country, Senator Richard Gordon is now seeking another inquiry, this time, on the reported drug-related killings by the police.
Gordon is chair of the Senate committee on justice and human rights, which is set to release a report on its investigation on the alleged rise in extrajudicial killings under the present administration.
But even before he could release the committee report, the senator filed Senate Resolution No 226, directing the appropriate committee in the Senate to look into the recent drug-related killings by the police “during police operations, under police custody and outside legitimate police duty.”
The resolution cited the Philippine National Police’s (PNP) report that from July 1 to October 11, 2016, there have been 4,248 drug-related killings by the police — 2,682 have been identified as due to police operations and 1,566 as deaths under investigation.
“The most common reason cited for these deaths involves a situation wherein the person being arrested is able to disarm the police officer which thereafter results in a shootout with the police, more popularly known in the vernacular as ‘nanlaban’,” it said.
The resolution also noted that the two mayors — Samsudin Dimaukom of Datu Saudi Ampatuan and Rolando Espinosa of Albuera, Leyte — who were included in the “narco-list” publicly released by President Rodrigo Duterte, had been killed in separate police operations.
Dimaukom and nine others were reportedly killed in an alleged firefight with police in a checkpoint in Barangay Bulatukan, Makilala, North Cotabato last October 28 while Espinosa and inmate Raul Yap were also killed during an alleged shootout in the Baybay City, Leyte Provincial Jail while reportedly being served a search warrant by the PNP Crime Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), Region 8 last November 5.
The resolution also cited other incidents “wherein police officers appear to have killed outside legitimate police duty” such as case of Mark Anthony Culata of Cavite and Zenaida Luz of Oriental Mindoro, among others.
Cuiata, an overseas Filipino worker, was reportedly last seen being stopped by police officers in a police checkpoint in Tanza, Cavite before his body was found with several gunshot wounds and a cardboard labeled “pusher ako” beside his body. Luz, the regional head of the Citizens Crime Watch, on the other hand, was allegedly shot and killed by Senior Insp. Magdaleno Pimentel, Jr. and Insp. Markson Almeranez outside her house in Barangay Maligaya, Gloria, Oriental Mindoro.
“The cases of Dimaukom, Espinosa, Culata, and Luz, among others, are a dagger in the heart of the criminal justice system as it appears that even those who are in the custody of the law are no longer safe,” Gordon said in the resolution.
“The apparent lack of security and the divided, if not, disputing actions of law enforcement agencies are a slap on the face of the rule of law, signaling a regress to a more desperate system of law without due process –a ‘take no prisoners’ approach in criminal justice.”
“This approach creates an atmosphere of intimidation and fear which puts the public in danger since they can be conditioned to ‘take the law in their own hands’ to defend themselves,” he added.
Gordon said the “serious” questions on the apparent irregularity in police operations must be investigated and clarified “if only to allay the fear of the public that legal processes are already being used as a subterfuge for summary killings to liquidate or neutralize persons allegedly involved in crimes, especially illegal drugs.” CDG