The Commission on Human Rights on Thursday took a swipe at the government’s 2016 narco-list linking Maguindanao’s Talisay mayor Abdul Wahab Sabal, who was recently gunned down in Malate, Manila.
“Sabal is not the first local chief executive who was killed after their inclusion in the administration’s list,” its lawyer-spokesperson Jacqueline de Guia said in a statement.
“This incident is another notch in a pattern of impunity and violence that has taken root in this country,” she added.
She said the rule of law must be prioritized above all, and that the release of the supposed narco-list in 2016 was a “violation of due process and has predictably led to violence.”
Citing Rappler wire service’s report, the CHR said at least 13 mayors and eight vice mayors were killed between July 2016 and August 2019.
Judgment and justice can only be achieved by going through the proper channels, De Guia noted.
“This continued bloodshed is a failure of the State in protecting its citizens, as primary duty bearers and protectors of human rights,” De Guia said.
“Good governance cannot come if public servants are living in fear; action must be taken before more lives are lost so that we can focus on working towards a better Philippines,” she added.
She said the government should take the necessary steps to ensure the safety of its elected officials—“this cycle of violence must be addressed, for its lasting effects and consequences are already being felt.”
The commission called for a peaceful and long-term solution to solve the drug problem “so that the Filipino people are provided with a safer environment where all can thrive.”
On Feb. 10 at past 10 p.m. in front of the Manrra Hotel on Quirino Avenue, Malate, Sabal got from his car when a motorcycle-riding gunmen shot Sabal.
“Finally, CHR offers its deepest condolences to the bereaved family and loved ones of mayor Sabal,” the CHR said.
In 2016, Sabal was included in the Duterte administration’s narco-list.
The Anti-Illegal Drug Group arrested Sabal at the Cotabato Airport in Datu Odin Sinsuat town on Sept. 8, 2016, and that two days later, he went through inquest proceedings at the Department of Justice.