Lagman seeks creation of independent fact-finding body to probe drug deaths
A lawmaker urged President Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday to form an independent fact-finding commission to “thoroughly and impartially” look into the cases of summary killings and other drug deaths in the country.
“I again urge President Rodrigo Duterte to create immediately an independent fact-finding commission to thoroughly and impartially investigate the escalating summary killings related to the administration’s campaign against the drug menace,” Albay 1st District Rep. Edcel Lagman said.
In his statement issued on Saturday, Lagman said the proposed fact-finding commission should be composed of retired justices of the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals.
“Police authorities cannot be entrusted with the investigation because police officers and personnel are involved, while the leadership of the Department of Justice is a partisan ally of the President,” he explained.
“Moreover, the inquiry must not be left to politicians whose motives could be suspect despite their avowal of impartiality,” he added.
At least 80 people have been killed in Metro Manila and Bulacan in simultaneous anti-drug police operations over the past week. One of the victims, 17-year-old Kian Loyd Delos Santos, was seen on CCTV footage being manhandled by alleged Caloocan City policemen shortly before he was found dead.
The incident has drawn condemnation and outrage from various sectors, including senators, congressmen, human-rights groups, and netizens.
Under Lagman’s proposal, the commission must be authorized to: conduct investigation on the causes, motives, and rewards for the EJKs; find out the total drug war toll; determine the collusion between the police and vigilantes; inquire how many victims were poor; establish how many of the killings are under investigation by the police and other government agencies; recommend prosecution of erring police and others involved; and recommend viable policies and alternatives to solve the drug problem as poverty and health issues other than a mere police matter.
“There are a number of precedents where fact-finding commissions were created to investigate events of transcendental importance like the Agrava Commission, Feliciano Commission and Melo Commission,” Lagman said.
According to Lagman, the Agrava Commission was created by the late President Ferdinand Marcos to investigate the assassination of Sen. Benigno Aguino on August 21, 1983 despite allegations that the dictator masterminded the assassination.
The Feliciano Commission, on the other hand, was created by former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to conduct an investigation on the Oakwood mutiny on July 21, 2003, and the Melo Commission was formed also by Arroyo on August 21, 2006 to inquire on the human-rights violations and extrajudicial killings during her incumbency. JPV
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