No rights violations? That’s an insult, De Lima says of DILG’s HR report
Calling it “an insult” to Filipinos, Sen. Leila de Lima yesterday scoffed at the Department of the Interior and Local Government’s (DILG) findings that there was no evidence of massive human rights violations by law enforcers under President Duterte’s bloody war on drugs.
De Lima, among staunch human rights advocates at the Senate, said the undeniable spate of killings—more than 5,000 dead including more than 2,000 said to be slain in police antidrug operations—belied DILG’s findings that the killings were above-board.
In a report yesterday, the DILG said a review of 25 randomly selected slay cases between July and October showed that only two warranted investigation for questionable circumstances.
The DILG also proposed the use of the “more generic” term “extralegal killings” in place of “extrajudicial killings,” saying it carried a “very emotional meaning” linked with human rights abuse. The new term would include killings committed by police in self-defense, the agency said.
“The so-called ‘independent probe’ conducted by the DILG is an insult not only to human rights workers but also, most especially, to the Filipino people at a time when the Philippines joins the international community in the observance of Human Rights Day today,” said the lawmaker, former chair of the Commission on Human Rights.
“No one can deny these daily killings, and the criminals are getting bolder and bolder each day. To say there is no massive human rights violations is like telling us we do not have a traffic problem in the country,” she said in a statement.
De Lima made the statement on the eve of her departure for a two-nation swing over the next 12 days, when she is due to visit the United States and Germany.
She made the assurance that she will come back, adding that the foreign trip would also serve as a break from nonstop criticism and allegations she has received over the past few months.
“There is, however, nothing to worry about as I will surely return, along with my staff who will be with me during these foreign visits. I hope my brief absence would provide a welcome relief and respite to my detractors and critics. I will keep them in mind though,” De Lima said.
The lawmaker, the subject of an immigration lookout bulletin order over allegations of drug involvement, is leaving today as she was granted an Allow Departure Order by the Department of Justice, and would be away until Dec. 22.
In the US, De Lima is expected to receive an award in relation to her human rights advocacy, details of which her office has not made available. She would then travel to Berlin to speak at the Annual Conference on Cultural Diplomacy.
“Both visits are very important to me because as a senator, I will have a chance to speak before influential world leaders and global thinkers on raising awareness and support for human rights, an advocacy I am passionate about,” she said.
“This is a great opportunity to meet leaders from various fields from around the world and learn from their respective government’s initiatives and challenges about cultural diplomacy,” she added.
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