Solons back Senate move to reopen Davao Death Squad probe
MANILA — Lawmakers from the independent minority bloc of the House of Representatives supported on Tuesday, the call of their Senate colleagues to reopen the investigation into the so-called Davao Death Squad (DDS) following the revelations of retired policeman Arturo Lascañas.
In a press conference, Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat said that Sen. Richard Gordon “has to reopen the reinvestigation especially since his committee is hearing the death penalty bill in the Senate.”
“One of the indictment against the death penalty is the criminal justice system. The Amnesty International report is saying the justice system’s first pillar, law enforcement, is already flawed. If Senator Gordon is an advocate against the death penalty, then open the investigation to prove that there is a need to reform the criminal justice system starting with law enforcement,” Baguilat said.
Akbayan Partylist Rep. Tom Villarin said that the Senate should investigate the DDS because Lascañas’ claims “point to state-sanctioned killings.”
Villarin said if the Senate still refused to conduct another investigation, then the call of the Human Rights Watch for the international community to intervene in the slaughter of suspected drug users “is very timely.”
“We need this for our own sake as a nation and as a society. Our values are being eroded little by little… I think what Lascañas did was a wake up call, a shoutout to the public, let the truth prevail,” Villarin said.
Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman noted “seriously disturbing parallels” between the DDS and the Duterte administration’s deadly campaign against illegal drugs that has claimed more than 7,000 lives in seven months.
He enumerated the “odious similarities” between the DDS and the bloodbath under the Duterte administration that are too obvious to ignore”: unabated extrajudicial killings; monetary rewards to the killers; victims are mostly poor and petty suspected criminals; involvement of police elements and their vigilante cohorts; official tolerance and complicity; and impunity for the executioners. SFM
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