THE Commission on Human Rights created on Thursday a task force that will investigate extrajudicial killings of suspected criminals as human rights advocates slammed the Duterte administration for the spate of killings over drug-related cases.
Commissioner Gwen Pimentel Gana said Task Force Extrajudicial Killings will look into the summary executions of robbers, snatchers, drug users and pushers, and other lawless elements after the CHR expressed concern over human rights violations.
“Our role here at CHR is to closely monitor human rights violations. This prompted us to form a task force,” she added, urging victims of human rights violations to file complaints before the commission.
Gana announced the formation of the task force as rights advocates slammed the Duterte administration for the spate of extrajudicial killings.
Max de Mesa, Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Alliance national chairperson and Citizen’s Council for Human Rights convenor, said the President’s campaign for peace and order has only resulted in an alarming rise in summary executions.
“Stop the bloodshed,” he said. “At least 251 people have been victims of extrajudicial killings from May 10 to July 13.”
Arbitrary killing of suspected offenders violates the right to due process and denies them the right to a fair trial, he said.
“We believe that summary methods violate the right to life, and will not solve the country’s crime and illegal drug problem,” he said. “It will only exacerbate the problem of lawlessness and violence.”
Another human rights defender, Virginia Suarez, said the Duterte presidency is peddling fear in his all-out war on drugs.
“What does the very campaign of Duterte against crime mean? He is instilling insecurity among the people, who feel they are no longer safe,” she told The Standard. “Overnight, there have been 15 people killed in summary executions. There are 251 people killed under the new administration, and incidence of such is still counting.”
Meanwhile, at the Senate, Senator Leila de Lima filed a resolution urging the Senate to conduct an investigation on the rampant extrajudicial killings and summary executions of suspected criminals.
In filing Senate Resolution 9, De Lima said she intends to strengthen the mechanisms of accountability of law enforcers and to institute corrective legislative measures to ensure full respect for basic human rights, especially right to life.
She said the Senate investigation would also reinforce the legal regime to address the phenomenon of vigilantism and summary killings; enhance legal mechanisms of accountability of state and non-state actors.
She also sought to boost the roles and responsibilities of relevant government agencies, especially the Commission on Human Rights, which are mandated to investigate cases of extrajudicial killings and summary executions that are perpetrated and/or tolerated by public officers.
“We know all too well of the several instances of police rub-outs and the number of shortcuts taken by law enforces in the guise of legitimate self defense or defense of others. The use of force, it appears in a lot of cases, fails to comply with legal criteria of absolute necessity and proportionality,” said De Lima who served as justice justice secretary during the previous administration. – With Macon Araneta