De Lima backs Senate inquiry into AI report
Sen. Leila de Lima on Friday expressed support for a Senate investigation into allegations by Amnesty International (AI) that the Philippine National Police contracted killings of drug suspects, saying the human rights group’s report bore “enough good leads” to proceed with a legislative inquiry.
In a statement, De Lima took a swipe at the reluctance of two senators—Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs chair Panfilo Lacson and justice and blue ribbon committees chair Richard Gordon—to pursue an investigation, saying AI must first show evidence.
Sen. Francis Escudero had called for Senate inquiry into the human rights watchdog’s report, saying it should “explain the basis” of its report.
“If we require more proof before the Senate conducts an inquiry into the AI report, then the Senate won’t ever be able to conduct a single inquiry,” De Lima said.
She said the point of an investigation is to look deeper into the matter as “the facts are not yet all available.”
De Lima, a former chair of the Commission on Human Rights, said witness accounts and incident details cited in the AI report should serve as enough proof with which the Senate could start its investigation.
“I went over the AI report and I see that there are enough good leads there for a further, deeper probe. Accounts of witnesses to a number of EJKs (extrajudicial killings) embodied in that report are very credible and verifiable through an honest-to-goodness thorough probe. Actual incidents are cited with dates and names of victims and/or witnesses. So, what more do we need from AI?” De Lima said.
She said it was shameful for the Senate to be dodging the probe call while rights groups and international media were closely watching over cases of EJKs in the country.
“Honestly, it is such a shame that there are international entities like Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and even foreign media that are closely and seriously investigating EJKs in the country, while local authorities like the Senate are avoiding an investigation or else conducting an investigation without any decent result,” De Lima said.
The lawmaker, who briefly led an inquiry into drug-related EJKs until her ouster from the helm of the Senate committee on justice in September, was making an apparent reference to earlier Senate hearings on the slays led by Lacson and Gordon.
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