MANILA, Philippines – Sen. Leila de Lima urged the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to invite Agnes Callamard, the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, to conduct an investigation into the spate of killings of suspected drug offenders.
De Lima filed Senate Resolution 153 which, if adopted, would carry the support of the Senate in seeking the action of the DFA.
According to De Lima, the spate of killings related to the anti-illegal drugs campaign has caught the attention of the international community because of the “alarming and staggering” numbers being reported on a daily basis.
As of Sept. 14, De Lima noted a total of 3,173 persons have been killed in the anti-drug campaign. A total of 1,138 people were killed in police operations while the balance of 2,035 were victims of extrajudicial or vigilante killings.
“And judging from both official and media sources, there is no showing that we will soon experience a downtrend in the figures,” she said.
De Lima cited the resolution issued by the European Parliament urging the Philippine government to put an end to the current wave of extrajudicial executions and killings and to launch an investigation into these.
She also cited the statement made by US President Barack Obama that the US government will not back down in its opposition against waging a war on drugs that is not consistent with theUS President Barack Obama and respect for human rights.
There was also the condemnation by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon of the administration’s apparent support for extrajudicial killings, saying that these were illegal and a breach of fundamental rights and freedoms.
Then there was the statement from the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein that the “President of the Philippines’ statements of scorn for international human rights law display a striking lack of understanding of our human rights institutions and the principles which make societies safe.”
“This call for a speedy and impartial investigation is justified by the perception that our local institutions of law enforcement and justice, including domestic mechanisms of accountability of public officials, appear to be inadequate, compromised or weak,” De Lima said.
Leila besieged by threats
MANILA, Philippines – Sen. Leila de Lima claims that unknown persons have started harassing her since Tuesday night and that she was unable to go home for fear of her safety after her address and mobile phone number were made public during the illegal drugs inquiry in the House of Representatives.
“I condemn and vehemently protest the sheer indecency and foulness of allowing my cell phone number and home address to be publicly disclosed,” she said.
De Lima said allies of the administration have basically destroyed her right to privacy and security in her communications and in her home.
“I have no adequate words to express my utter dismay about the lack of foresight and/or utter lack of sheer humanity displayed today during what I can only describe as a blatant exercise in harassment and persecution that is the so-called House of Representatives inquiry,” she said.
De Lima said she is now a persecuted person displaced from her home. “Worse, they have turned people into weapons of destruction,” she said.
De Lima has repeatedly pointed to President Duterte as being behind the efforts to harass and pressure her after she launched a Senate inquiry into the spate of drug-related extrajudicial killings that, by her count, now exceeded 3,000 cases.
“They have victimized me over and over again, and just when I thought I could not feel more betrayed, they have once again proven that I have underestimated their audacity and evilness,” she said.
Phelim Kine, Human Rights Watch deputy director for Asia, yesterday accused lawmakers investigating the drug problem in the New Bilibid Prison of endangering the safety and security of De Lima by revealing her home address and mobile phone number on national television.
“Since that disclosure during the hearing, which was broadcast live on national television, De Lima has reported that she’s been besieged by hundreds of threatening phone calls and messages,” he said.
“We are aghast that the lawmakers presiding over the hearing, who are political allies of President Duterte, conducted it in a way that grossly violates the privacy and the rights of a sitting legislator. Her fellow legislators in both houses of Congress should denounce this attempt to silence and intimidate her.”
Kine said since De Lima launched in August a Senate probe into the surge in killings linked to President Duterte’s “war on drugs,” she has been the target of the administration’s relentless campaign of harassment, intimidation and vilification that appears designed to politically destroy her. – With Michael Punongbayan
Tags: Agnes Callamard, De Lima, drug war, Duterte, Duterte's war on drugs, extrajudicial, extrajudicial killings, human rights, Human Rights Watch, Human Rights Watch deputy director for Asia, killings related to the anti-illegal drugs campaign, Leila de Lima, Phelim Kine, Philippine senate, Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte's anti-drug campaign, Senate committee on justice and human rights, Summary executions, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial summary or arbitrary executions, US President Barack Obama