Posts Tagged ‘Philippine senate’

Philippine Opposition Lawmakers Want Investigation into Illegal Deaths in President Duterte’s War Against Drugs

July 17, 2017
 / 12:37 PM July 17, 2017
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Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV (File photo by GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE / Philippine Daily Inquirer)

Senator Antonio Trillanes IV criticized Senator Richard Gordon’s proposal to revive the investigation into the Mamasapano debacle that led to the deaths of 44 elite policemen and 18 Moro rebels and five civilians last January 15.

Trillanes said the Senate should instead relaunch the probe on the thousands of deaths in the Duterte administration’s brutal war against drugs.

“Mas aatupagin pa ni Sen. Gordon ‘yung nakaraang issue na piniga na ng husto ng dating Congreso pero ‘yung mga libo-libong pinapatay na Pilipino sa kasalukuyan, wala siyang panahon,” Trillanes said in a statement.

(Sen. Gordon would rather focus on an old issue that already has been squeezed out by the old Congress but for the thousands of Filipinos being killed presently, he has no time for.)

Over the weekend, Gordon proposed the reopening of the Mamasapano probe after the Ombudsman indicted former President Benigno Aquino III for usurpation of authority during the planning of the ill-fated “Oplan Exodus.”

The senator, who chairs the Senate blue ribbon committee, said the former Chief Executive has to face the consequences of the deadly incident.

Senator Grace Poe, meanwhile, stressed that it is the prerogative of Gordon being the blue ribbon committee chair to revive the investigation.

Image result for Grace Poe, Philippines, Photo

Grace Poe

“The decision to reopen the Mamasapano inquiry is the prerogative of the chairman of the blue ribbon committee,” Poe said in a text message.

But the senator said it would be to the interest of the public and the members of the Senate to “know the clear objectives of Senator Gordon in putting forward such proposal.”

“Whatever new and relevant information that can be unearthed from this inquiry, in aid of legislation, will be beneficial not only to the families of the SAF 44, but also to the Filipino people,” she said.

She also urged the Senate and the public to be prepared for the possibility that Aquino would only invoke his right not to to talk about the case as it is already being handled by the court.

Poe added: “Whatever disagreement anyone has with the determination of the Ombudsman, let us give her office the opportunity to review the same through the processes allowed by law and remedies given to the parties in the case.”

“As it is, we are one with the Filipino people in the pursuit of justice and truth on this matter,” she said. JE/rga

Read more: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/914526/trillanes-why-not-investigate-ejks-instead-of-mamasapano#ixzz4n4YECVqj
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Philippine Lawmakers Want To Drill For Oil In The South China Sea — A Move Likely To Anger China, Upset President Duterte — Some say “skirt the issue of sovereignty”

May 23, 2017

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon and Sen. Richard Gordon, in separate interviews, said the country has the sovereign right to exploit resources within its exclusive economic zone (EEZ). Senate PRIB/Joseph Vidal/ File

MANILA, Philippines – With or without a threat of war from China, the Duterte administration should pursue its plan to drill for oil and exploit other resources in areas in the West Philippine Sea being claimed by the Chinese, senators said yesterday.

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon and Sen. Richard Gordon, in separate interviews, said the country has the sovereign right to exploit resources within its exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

“We must continue to assert our rights over our territory… including drilling (for oil), because that’s within our territory,” Drilon said. “Exploitation of natural resources is the right of the state within its territory.”

Sen. Sonny Angara said the country should start exploring for oil in the South China Sea but that it should “proceed carefully.”

He said the natural gas reserves from the Malampaya complex near Palawan would soon be depleted.

Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto said the government should consider joint exploration as the country does not have the financial resources to undertake such investment-heavy endeavors alone.

“The challenge is how to skirt the issue of sovereignty. Can we (claimant nations) set aside the issue temporarily and focus on the economic benefits?” Recto said.

He said the government must try to secure a better deal than the one for the Malampaya program – or one that ensures bigger share of profit for the country.

Last week, President Duterte disclosed that Chinese President Xi Jinping had threatened war if the Philippines would insist on drilling for oil in the West Philippine Sea.

Beijing, however, appeared to have sidestepped the war threat claimed by Duterte.

“I said it is ours and I will drill the oil. And I tell them do not do it because it is ours. But I have the arbitral ruling. But they said that if you force the issue, we will go to war,” Duterte said, quoting Xi.

Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian, for his part, said the government should now focus on building naval and research facilities near Benham Rise – renamed Philippine Rise – to hasten exploration activities in the area.

Gatchalian, chairman of the Senate committees on energy and on economic affairs, made the call after President Duterte signed Executive Order No. 25, renaming Benham Rise to Philippine Rise.

“There is an urgent need for us to hasten the conduct of extensive research so we can map out strategies on how to develop the area and use its rich natural resources to enrich the lives of the Filipino people,” he said.

“Changing its name has put emphasis on our sovereign jurisdiction over this vast mass of underwater plateau. Now that we have done that, government must now shift its attention to how to utilize its natural resources before our neighbors discover its hidden treasures,” he added.

The Senate economic affairs committee is finalizing its recommendations for the creation of the Benham Rise Development Authority (BRDA), as proposed by Angara, to spearhead research and development efforts for the resource-rich area.

The Philippine Rise is a 24-million-hectare underwater plateau located about 250 kilometers east of Northern Luzon. It is within the Philippine EEZ and continental shelf, based on recommendations of the UN Commission on Limits of the Continental Shelf issued on April 2012.

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/05/24/1703092/senators-drill-oil-south-china-sea

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FILE - Vietnam People's Navy personnel carry their country's national flag.

 (Contains links to several earlier related stories)

FILE photo p rovided by Filipino fisherman Renato Etac —  A Chinese Coast Guard boat approaches Filipino fishermen near Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea. Scarborough Shoal has always been part of the Philippines, by international law. China says it is happy to control fishing in the South China Sea. Credit: Renato Etac

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For about five years China has been loudly proclaiming “indisputable sovereignty over the South China Sea.” China has said, everything north of the “nine dash line” shown here, essentially, belongs to China.  On July 12, 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague said this claim by China was not valid. But China chose to ignore international law.

Philippines: Senators Critical of Philippine National Police Chief for “Inhuman Treatment” of Prisoners — “Unlivable secret prison cell hidden behind a book shelf inside a police station”

May 1, 2017
This photo taken April 27, 2017 shows people allegedly kept inside a hidden room at the Drug Enforcement Unit of the Manila Police Department’s Police Station 1 in the Tondo area of Manila. Human rights workers found a dozen people on April 27 stuffed inside a dark, closet-sized jail cell hidden behind a book shelf in a Philippine police station. The rights officials, acting on a tip, made the surprise inspection on the police station and were calling out for any detainees to come forward. AFP/Vincent Go

MANILA, Philippines – Two senators were appalled by the reaction of Philippine National Police Director General Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa of a cell behind a bookshelf in a police station in Manila’s Tondo district.

Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson, a former PNP director general, described dela Rosa’s defense of detaining alleged drug suspects in the cramped cell as “arrogant” while Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said the PNP chief’s statement looked like it came from a “kanto boy.”

“Defending policemen for maintaining an unlivable secret prison cell hidden behind a book shelf inside a police station is incomprehensible,” Lacson said in a statement Sunday evening.

READ: ‘Hidden jail’ seen as sign of PNP’s abuse in drug war

Dela Rosa personally inspected the cell in Manila Police District Station 1 in Tondo on Friday and said that it is fine with him as long as the prisoners were not tortured and extorted.

Commission on Human Rights officials trooped to the Raxabago station after receiving a tip from an informant that suspects were being locked up and that their families were being made to pay P40,000 to P200,000 in exchange for their freedom.

The surprise visit by the CHR led to the discovery of a poorly ventilated makeshift cell concealed by a bookshelf, where more than 10 people were detained. The supposed suspects had not been formally charged and were not in the precinct’s blotter report.

READ: Duterte to look into Tondo ‘hidden jail’

Dela Rosa, meanwhile challenged the CHR to inspect calls every day and not just during the Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit.

“Narinig ko po ang mga salita ng ating PNP chief. Nakalulungkot po parang kanto po ‘yung mga salita, parang kanto boy, parang hindi chief PNP,” Drilon, a former Justice secretary, told dzMM in a phone interview.

Drilon urged dela Rosa to curb the abuses of his men since the public is losing trust in the PNP.

READ: CHR, PNP face-off looms over ‘hidden cell’

“Ang dami na pong nangyayari, walang napaparusahang miyembro ng ating pulis. Itong mga ganitong insidente ay dapat na matigil na,” he added.

Article 3 section 12 of the 1987 Constitution states that “secret detention places, solitary, incommunicado, or other similar forms of detention are prohibited.”

Thirteen members of MPD Station 1 have already been relieved of their posts, including station commander Superintendent Robert Domingo, to give way for a PNP-Internal Affairs Service investigation.

Relief is not the same as termination and police officers who are administratively relieved are on “floating status” but are still members of the PNP.

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/05/01/1695700/drilon-lacson-hit-kanto-boy-bato-defending-mpd-secret-cell

Philippines: Presidential Spokesman Calls 7,000 Extrajudicial Killings “Fake News” (It’s actually more like 9,000) — Further Erodes Credibility of Philippine Government, Philippine National Police (PNP)

April 21, 2017
Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella called reports on more than 7,000 extralegal killings “false news.” PCOO/King Rodriguez

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte’s spokesperson on Friday called reports of nearly 9,000 drug-related deaths “false news,” months after media organizations and international groups used the figure in their reports.

Ernesto Abella, the presidential spokesperson, said that the persistent reports of more 7,000 killed, which is now said to be nearly 9,000, was “false news” as the Philippine National Police (PNP) said that the figure was much lower.

“On the number of extrajudicial deaths, the persistent news reports of 7,000 killed, which is now being said to be close to 9,000, is false,” Abella said.

The president’s spokesperson said that based on official police data there were only 6,011 homicide cases being investigated. Of the figure, only 1,398 cases were found to be drug related, contrary to reports that 9,000 have already been killed in anti-illegal drugs operations, Abella said.

Abella, meanwhile, called on organizations which report on drug incidents to be fair and not to rush to judgment as he emphasized that people appreciated the changes being implemented by the administration and the way these were carried out.

“We ask to be understood not just from a single perspective, but from the point of view of Filipinos who desire change, stability and fairness,” Abella said.

The number of murders and homicide cases, however, have risen dramatically at the start of the Duterte administration last year despite government’s denial that they are related to the brutal war on drugs. Drug experts also acknowledge that stringent law enforcement policy against narcotics have historically resulted in unnecessary violence and deaths.

Abella’s comments came days after a Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey showed that public satisfaction with the government’s conduct of the war on drugs plunging by 11 points, from +77 in December 2016 to +66 in March 2017.

He also assuaged American concern on the increasing extrajudicial killings in the Philippines, saying that those who breached protocol would be made to account.

“We share the concern of US Assistant Secretary of State for Southeast Asia Patrick Murphy, who has been quoted in the media saying ‘there are elements of the drug war that are operating outside the rule of law,’” the spokesperson said.

Abella said that the PNP has an Internal Affairs Service which would probe into cases of police violations.

“This body can suspend or dismiss PNP personnel based on violations incurred and can recommend the filing of criminal charges,” he said.

He said that security forces followed procedures in conducting their operations although force may be used to protect the safety of the police.

“Local authorities follow operation protocols and the proper enforcement of our laws requires the use of reasonable force merited by the attendant circumstances,” he said.

Not a single cop, however, has been accused by police investigators before a court of unjustifiably killing drug suspects in police operations. President Rodrigo Duterte himself said he will defend and pardon cops accused of wrongdoing in the field.

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/04/21/1692511/abella-calls-7000-extrajudicial-killings-fake-news

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Discarded — The body of a dead Filipino girl — killed in President Duterte’s war on drugs — looks like it has been put out with the trash….. Presidential spokeman Abella said the war on drugs is for the next generation of Filipinos.
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Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (L) talks to Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Ronald Dela Rosa. AFP photo

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Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa

Philippines: Human Rights Watch director Phelim Kline also said the numbers of fatalities in the drug war launched by President Rodrigo Duterte when he assumed office on June 30, 2016, are “appalling but predictable” since he (Duterte) vowed to “forget the laws on human rights.”

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Philippines Policeman found tortured and strangled after some fellow police said he was involved in the illegal drug trade. Photo Credit Boy Cruz

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2016/07/08/1600763/cop-linked-drugs-tortured-killed

 (December 23, 2016)

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 (Philippine Star, December 1, 2016)

 (Philippine Star, December 1, 2016)

“They are afraid the incident could cause President Duterte to declare martial law. I talked with some sultans and ulamas and elders here… and that’s what they have told me,” Ponyo said.

 (November 30, 2016)

 

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High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein. UN Photo, Jean-Marc Ferré

Summary executions of supposed drug dealers and other criminals have become a common occurence in recent weeks. The STAR/Joven Cagande, file

 (November 16, 2016)

 

 (August 10, 2016)

Davao City’s Ronald dela Rosa has been appointed to become the next chief of the Philippine National Police to lead President-elect Rodrigo Duterte’s planned crackdown on illegal drugs. Facebook/Dela Rosa
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Crime scene investigators examine a vehicle used by two drug suspects killed during an alleged shootout with officers along NIA Road in Quezon City on June 21, 2016. JOVEN CAGANDE/file
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President Rodrigo Duterte's crusade against drug users and dealers is controversial

 

Workers burying cadavers in various stages of decomposition in a mass grave in Manila, after health officials recovered the cadavers from Henry's Funeral Home. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.

Workers burying cadavers in various stages of decomposition in a mass grave in Manila, after health officials recovered the cadavers from Henry’s Funeral Home. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.Source:AFP

A worker arranging cadavers in various stages of decomposition at the morgue of Henry's Funeral Homes in Manila. Picture: AFP/ Noel Celis.

A worker arranging cadavers in various stages of decomposition at the morgue of Henry’s Funeral Homes in Manila. Picture: AFP/ Noel Celis.Source:AFP

Health officials closed Henry's Funeral Home after recovering at least 120 unclaimed and rotting cadavers in Manila. The city health department conducted a surprise raid after receiving complaints about a foul odour coming from the funeral parlour. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.

Health officials closed Henry’s Funeral Home after recovering at least 120 unclaimed and rotting cadavers in Manila. The city health department conducted a surprise raid after receiving complaints about a foul odour coming from the funeral parlour. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.Source:AFP

Workers carrying cadavers in various stages of decomposition at the morgue of Henry's Funeral Homes in Manila, October 2016. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.

Workers carrying cadavers in various stages of decomposition at the morgue of Henry’s Funeral Homes in Manila, October 2016. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.Source:AFP

Philippines: National Police killings ‘committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack against a civilian population’ — ‘Reign of terror’ — ‘Extermination’ — Insiders talking to evidence gatherers for the International Criminal Court

April 18, 2017
At least 39 people were killed in police operations during Holy Week as Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa proved true to his word that there would be no Lenten break in the war on drugs. AP/Bullit Marquez, file
  • Almost 9,000 people killed since President Rodrigo Duterte took office in June
  • Two senior officials have claimed that police orchestrated many of those killings 
  • Police paid to kill drug suspects and – for 10,000 pesos ($200) a head – rapists, pickpockets, swindlers, gang members, alcoholics and other ‘troublemakers’

The Philippine police have given bonuses for killing drug suspects, planted evidence at crime scenes and carried out most of the murders they blamed on vigilantes, said two senior officers.

The officials, who are critical of President Rodrigo Duterte’s ‘war on drugs,’ challenged the government’s explanations of the killings in interviews.

Almost 9,000 people, many small-time users and dealers, have been killed since Duterte took office on June 30. Police say about a third of the victims were shot by officers in self-defence during legitimate anti-drug operations.

Human rights monitors believe the remaining two thirds were killed by paid assassins working with police or by police disguised as vigilantes – a charge the police deny.

Philippine police have received cash payments for executing drug suspects, planted evidence at crime scenes and carried out most of the killings they have long blamed on vigilantes, claim officials critical of President Rodrigo Duterte's (pictured) 'war on drugs'

Philippine police have received cash payments for executing drug suspects, planted evidence at crime scenes and carried out most of the killings they have long blamed on vigilantes, claim officials critical of President Rodrigo Duterte’s (pictured) ‘war on drugs’

The two senior officers, one a retired police intelligence officer and the other an active-duty commander, claimed the killings are in fact orchestrated by the police, including most of those carried out by vigilantes. They spoke on the condition of anonymity.

‘It is the Philippine National Police doing it,’ said the retired intelligence officer.

‘This killing machine must be buried six feet under the ground.’ He said he was angry about the impact of the killings on police discipline and wanted ‘to put Duterte on the defensive.’ Reuters was unable to independently verify if the police are behind vigilante killings.

The president’s office and the Philippine police did not respond to questions from Reuters.

The intelligence officer has authored an unpublished 26-page report on the conduct of the drug war in an effort to organize opposition to Duterte’s campaign.

The report, titled ‘The State-Sponsored Extrajudicial Killings in the Philippines,’ provides granular detail on the campaign’s alleged methods, masterminds and perpetrators. The document has been shared with leaders of the Catholic Church in the Philippines and with the government-funded Commission on Human Rights.

Some of the report’s accusations against individuals could not be confirmed by Reuters; the news agency is therefore not publishing the full document.

Many of its findings, however, support and expand upon previous investigations of the drug war by Reuters and independent human rights monitors.

Human rights monitors believe paid assassins operating with police backing or by police disguised as vigilantes killed two thirds of the 9,000 people who have died since June 30 - a charge police deny

Human rights monitors believe paid assassins operating with police backing or by police disguised as vigilantes killed two thirds of the 9,000 people who have died since June 30 – a charge police deny

The report claims that police are paid to kill not just drug suspects, but also – for 10,000 pesos ($200) a head – rapists, pickpockets, swindlers, gang members, alcoholics and other ‘troublemakers.’

It also claims that civilian members of the so-called Davao Death Squad, which rights activists allege killed hundreds of people in Duterte’s hometown of Davao, were drafted to ‘augment and assist’ the police’s current nationwide anti-drug operation.

The report doesn’t provide documentary evidence for its accusations, which the intelligence officer said were based on accounts from 17 serving or former policemen, including the commander Reuters interviewed. The police commander said he agreed to talk because he was upset that authorities are targeting only petty drug suspects. ‘Why aren’t they killing the suppliers?’ he asked. ‘Only the poor are dying.’

The second half of the report is largely political in nature, asserting that Duterte has close ties to Communist forces in the Philippines. Many in the military and police are concerned by what they see as Duterte’s leftist sympathies. Since taking office, the president has released Communist rebels from prison to restart peace talks.

The report also calls the drug war a ‘social cleansing’ campaign similar to that launched in Mao Zedong’s China, with Duterte aiming to have drug addicts ‘physically eliminated.’

The Commission on Human Rights has reviewed the report and the accounts could open up new leads in ongoing investigations, said chairman Chito Gascon. Church officials confirmed receiving the report as well.

A report claims that police are paid to kill not just drug suspects, but also - for 10,000 pesos ($200) a head - rapists, pickpockets, swindlers, gang members, alcoholics and other 'troublemakers' (pictured, police interrogating local residents in operation against drugs

A report claims that police are paid to kill not just drug suspects, but also – for 10,000 pesos ($200) a head – rapists, pickpockets, swindlers, gang members, alcoholics and other ‘troublemakers’ (pictured, police interrogating local residents in operation against drugs

‘We should do all we can to follow any lead that could ultimately shed light on these killings with the view to ultimately holding the perpetrators to account,’ said Gascon.

The fresh claims come amid growing criticism of the drug war. In February, the country’s influential Catholic Church called it a ‘reign of terror.’ The campaign has also sparked street protests and lawsuits.

Duterte’s police chief, Ronald Dela Rosa, halted police operations for most of February after it emerged that an anti-drug unit had kidnapped and murdered a South Korean businessman last year. The killings continued but at a slower pace. On March 6, Dela Rosa announced that the police were resuming their drug operations.

In March, a former policeman, Arturo Lascanas, testified in the Philippine Senate about his role in vigilante-style killings in the southern city of Davao, where Duterte was once mayor. Lascanas was the second Senate witness to link Duterte to the Davao Death Squad. Duterte denies ordering any killings, either as president or mayor.

In a subsequent interview, Lascanas told Reuters that for over a decade he was paid for carrying out the liquidation of drug suspects and criminals. In the early 1990s, he said, he was paid 3,000 to 5,000 pesos ($60-$100) for each of the ‘jobs’ he performed.

By the early 2000s he was earning tens of thousands of pesos for each operation, he said. Lascanas said he had no documentary proof of the payments. He has since left the country.

In the past nine months, police acknowledge having shot dead more than 2,600 suspects during their operations. They say such shootings occur after suspects open fire on undercover officers trying to catch them dealing drugs.

It also claims that civilian members of the so-called Davao Death Squad, which rights activists allege killed hundreds of people in Duterte's hometown of Davao, were drafted to 'augment and assist' the police's current nationwide anti-drug operation. Pictured, Duterte with Trade Secretary Liam Fox)

It also claims that civilian members of the so-called Davao Death Squad, which rights activists allege killed hundreds of people in Duterte’s hometown of Davao, were drafted to ‘augment and assist’ the police’s current nationwide anti-drug operation. Pictured, Duterte with UK Trade Secretary Liam Fox

But these so-called ‘buy-busts’ are actually well-planned executions, said the commander interviewed by Reuters. The commander said targets are chosen from lists of suspects drawn up by police and local officials, who later coordinate to unplug security cameras in the neighbourhood where a killing is planned. According to the report, street lamps are also switched off.

‘There is no such thing as a legitimate buy-bust,’ the commander said. ‘The dealers know the cops and won’t sell to them.’

Instead, he said, a team of police operatives will execute the target, who is almost always unarmed, then plant guns and drugs at the crime scene to justify the use of deadly force.

‘We have to plant evidence for the legality of the operation,’ the commander said. ‘We are ordered to do these operations, so we have to protect ourselves.’

The commander said officers put the gun in the dead suspect’s hand and pull the trigger with the victim’s finger so forensic testing will show that the suspect fired a gun.

Late last year, he said, police crime-scene investigators told their fellow officers to place the guns at a slight distance from the suspects, rather than in their hands, to make things look more realistic.

Most drug suspects in his precinct are shot by rookie cops who are either eager for the experience or nominated by their superiors, the commander said. The superiors refer to this as a ‘baptism by fire.’

Each member of the team is quickly paid according to two factors, said the commander: his role in the killing and the target’s value.

According to the report, the cash ‘reward scales’ for drug killings range from 20,000 pesos ($400) for a ‘street level pusher and user,’ to 50,000 pesos for a member of a neighborhood council, one million pesos for ‘distributors, retailers and wholesalers,’ and five million for ‘drug lords.’

Police officers kill for money, said the commander, but also out of fear: Even the police are afraid of being included on a ‘watch list’ of drug suspects drawn up by police and local officials.

Officials have been killed for not cooperating, he added. He said he was aware of two cases but did not provide details on exactly what happened.

Most drug suspects in his precinct are shot by rookie cops who are either eager for the experience or nominated by their superiors, the commander said. Pictured, armed Filipino policemen stand guard next to the wall of a prison facility

Most drug suspects in his precinct are shot by rookie cops who are either eager for the experience or nominated by their superiors, the commander said. Pictured, armed Filipino policemen stand guard next to the wall of a prison facility

Reuters reported last year that the watch lists were effectively hit lists, with many of those named ending up dead. Another Reuters investigation showed that police officers were killing 97 percent of the suspects they confront in violent buy-bust operations, the strongest evidence yet that the police were summarily executing suspects.

Officers also cooperate because they know the police force’s flawed disciplinary system, which fails to adequately investigate even a fraction of the killings, means there is little chance they will get caught, said the intelligence officer.

One sign of the drug war’s success, says the government, is that more than a million users and pushers have voluntarily registered with the police, a process known as ‘surrendering.’

But the commander said police are given a quota of ‘surrenderers,’ and fill it by using city ordinances to arrest men who are drunk or shirtless – a misdemeanor known as ‘half-naked’ – then forcing them to register as drug suspects.

Reuters learned of the intelligence officer’s 26-page report from him and interviewed two Catholic priests in Manila who said they had encouraged him to compile it. One of the priests said he edited the report; the other said he helped distribute it among a small group of clerics and human rights activists. Both are helping organize opposition to Duterte’s drug campaign.

The Church’s initial reluctance to criticize Duterte’s drug war was prompted by a desire to ‘give him a chance’ when he took office, said one of the priests. But the killings, along with the president’s overtures to Communists, made many in the Church feel their values were under attack, he said.

The intelligence officer said he hoped the report would be used as evidence at the International Criminal Court. In October, the Hague-based tribunal said it could prosecute suspects if the killings were ‘committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack against a civilian population.’

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4421430/Police-kill-rewards-staged-crime-scenes-Dutertes-drug-war.html#ixzz4ecS4W7LE
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Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (L) talks to Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Ronald Dela Rosa. AFP photo

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Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa

Philippines: Human Rights Watch director Phelim Kline also said the numbers of fatalities in the drug war launched by President Rodrigo Duterte when he assumed office on June 30, 2016, are “appalling but predictable” since he (Duterte) vowed to “forget the laws on human rights.”

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Philippines Policeman found tortured and strangled after some fellow police said he was involved in the illegal drug trade. Photo Credit Boy Cruz

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2016/07/08/1600763/cop-linked-drugs-tortured-killed

 (December 23, 2016)

Discarded — The body of a dead Filipino girl looks like it has been put out with the trash…..
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 (Philippine Star, December 1, 2016)

 (Philippine Star, December 1, 2016)

“They are afraid the incident could cause President Duterte to declare martial law. I talked with some sultans and ulamas and elders here… and that’s what they have told me,” Ponyo said.

 (November 30, 2016)

 

Image may contain: 1 person, eyeglasses and beard

High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein. UN Photo, Jean-Marc Ferré

Summary executions of supposed drug dealers and other criminals have become a common occurence in recent weeks. The STAR/Joven Cagande, file

 (November 16, 2016)

 

 (August 10, 2016)

Davao City’s Ronald dela Rosa has been appointed to become the next chief of the Philippine National Police to lead President-elect Rodrigo Duterte’s planned crackdown on illegal drugs. Facebook/Dela Rosa
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Crime scene investigators examine a vehicle used by two drug suspects killed during an alleged shootout with officers along NIA Road in Quezon City on June 21, 2016. JOVEN CAGANDE/file
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President Rodrigo Duterte's crusade against drug users and dealers is controversial

 

Workers burying cadavers in various stages of decomposition in a mass grave in Manila, after health officials recovered the cadavers from Henry's Funeral Home. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.

Workers burying cadavers in various stages of decomposition in a mass grave in Manila, after health officials recovered the cadavers from Henry’s Funeral Home. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.Source:AFP

A worker arranging cadavers in various stages of decomposition at the morgue of Henry's Funeral Homes in Manila. Picture: AFP/ Noel Celis.

A worker arranging cadavers in various stages of decomposition at the morgue of Henry’s Funeral Homes in Manila. Picture: AFP/ Noel Celis.Source:AFP

Health officials closed Henry's Funeral Home after recovering at least 120 unclaimed and rotting cadavers in Manila. The city health department conducted a surprise raid after receiving complaints about a foul odour coming from the funeral parlour. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.

Health officials closed Henry’s Funeral Home after recovering at least 120 unclaimed and rotting cadavers in Manila. The city health department conducted a surprise raid after receiving complaints about a foul odour coming from the funeral parlour. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.Source:AFP

Workers carrying cadavers in various stages of decomposition at the morgue of Henry's Funeral Homes in Manila, October 2016. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.

Workers carrying cadavers in various stages of decomposition at the morgue of Henry’s Funeral Homes in Manila, October 2016. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.Source:AFP

Philippines: “thou shalt not kill.” — Do we still respect human life?

March 19, 2017

Catholic Bishops In The Philippines Suggest Citizens Pray for Lawmakers

Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 19 2017 11:38 AM | Updated as of Mar 19 2017 04:27 PM

CBCP asks Filipinos to pray for legislators

A banner hangs outside a church in the town of Patero , Metro Manila Tuesday. Erik De Castro, Reuters

MANILA – As the Senate considers the revival of capital punishment, leaders of the Philippines’ Catholic Church on Sunday urged legislators not to use the Bible to defend the death penalty, which they say runs against the teachings of Jesus Christ.

In a pastoral letter read out at Mass services across the country, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) said lawmakers must “interpret the Scriptures properly” and take note that Jesus “was never an advocate of any form of ‘legal killing.'”

“To the people who use the Bible to defend death penalty, need we point out how many other crimes against humanity have been justified, using the same Bible? We humbly enjoin them to interpret the Scriptures properly, to read them as a progressive revelation of God’s will to humankind, with its ultimate fulfillment in Jesus Christ, God’s definitive Word to the world,” the letter read.

“Jesus was never an advocate of any form of “legal killing”. He defended the adulterous woman against those who demanded her blood and challenged those who were without sin among them to be the first to cast a stone on her.”

Christ, the CBCP said, pushed for “justice founded on mercy” in lieu of a system of retribution exemplified by the principle of “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.”

Senator Manny Pacquiao, a champion boxer and born-again pastor, has repeatedly used the Bible to defend the return of the death penalty. He said in January that that while the 10 Commandments prohibit killings, God approves of capital punishment to pursue justice and that even Christ was sentenced to death.

Policemen and a passerby look at pictures of the ones killed due to alleged involvement in illegal drugs, during a protest against extra-judicial killings at an open area of a Roman Catholic Church in Parañaque, early March. Romeo Ranoco, Reuters

Capital punishment inched closer to reinstatement earlier this month after it was approved by the House of Representatives on 2nd reading on Ash Wednesday, March 1, as well as on final reading last March 7.

CBCP said it was ironic that majority of congressmen during the 2nd reading voted in favor of death penalty while their foreheads were marked with crosses made of ashes, a symbol of God’s forgiveness.

“Could they have forgotten what that cross meant? Could they have missed out the contradiction between their vote and the crosses on their foreheads, which were supposed to serve as a loud statement of faith in the God who, for love of us, chose to give up his life for our salvation, rather than see us perish?” the Church leaders asked.

The bishops said capital punishment has often been used by repressive governments as “a way of stifling dissent, or of eliminating those whom they regarded as threats to their hold on political power.”

“Think, for instance why Herod Antipas had John the Baptist beheaded, or why Pilate had Jesus crucified. Think of the thousands of Christian martyrs who were put to death for sheer hatred for the faith,” they said.

They added that capital punishment was never proven as an effective deterrent to crime and will likely target only the poor who cannot afford good lawyers and a guarantee of due process.

The CBCP ended its pastoral letter with an appeal for the public to pray for the enlightenment of the Senate ahead of its death penalty deliberations.

“Let us pray fervently for the legislators of our country as they prepare to vote on death penalty in the Philippine Senate. Let us offer all our Masses for them, asking our Crucified Lord who offered his whole life, body and blood, for the salvation of sinners, to touch their consciences and lead them to abolish capital punishment once and for all,” CBCP said.

Philippine Congress postpones embattled minister’s confirmation hearing

February 28, 2017

Tue Feb 28, 2017 | 2:37am EST

Reuters

By Manolo Serapio Jr and Enrico Dela Cruz | MANILA

A Philippine legislative hearing set for Wednesday to confirm the appointment of a controversial environment minister who ordered more than half of the country’s mines shut has been postponed following a shakeup in the Senate leadership.

While the hearings are typically a formality carried out long after a minister has started work, the confirmation process for Regina Lopez is much anticipated because of the uproar she has caused in the mining sector, with calls from miners for her to be removed.

Lopez is among just a few of President Rodrigo Duterte’s appointees yet to get the green light from lawmakers.

The crackdown by Lopez, a committed environmentalist long before she joined Duterte’s team, has raised fears that supply of nickel ore from the world’s top exporter may be disrupted, fuelling a rally in global nickel prices.

Lopez on Tuesday suggested her confirmation hearing may be unduly influenced by lawmakers with mining interests.

“So I strongly feel that we should not have any individuals there with strong business leanings which will influence and affect the decisions,” she told reporters.

“I’m not accusing anyone. I’m just saying as a matter of policy. That’s the way it should be.”

Lopez has ordered the closure of 23 of 41 operating mines to protect watersheds and suspended another five, actions she said followed due process and came after a months-long review.

She also canceled 75 contracts for undeveloped mines for being in watershed areas that she said would threaten water supply and quality.

Duterte, who has supported Lopez’s actions, said on Monday that he would not interfere in the confirmation proceedings.

“This is a democracy … There are processes to be observed,” he told reporters.

The commission has canceled all hearings for Wednesday and no new date was set for Lopez. It came after four legislators who supported a critic of Duterte’s war on drugs lost key Senate positions on Monday.

Many affected miners have appealed to Duterte’s office to prevent closure or suspension and questioned whether due process was followed by the environment agency. A mining industry group has said the closures and suspensions would affect 1.2 million people.

A government inter-agency panel will begin a three-month review of the affected mines from March and will meet on Friday.

“We certainly want to make sure that the defenses of Secretary-designate Lopez are very strong,” Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez told a separate briefing on Tuesday.

“Being Secretary is not like being a crusader,” Dominguez said, adding it is about “balancing the needs of the different sectors in society.”

(Reporting by Manolo Serapio Jr. and Enrico dela Cruz; Editing by Martin Petty and Richard Pullin)

Philippines: Liberal Party LP members ousted from Senate majority — The Senate will “remain independent and true to its role as the last bastion of democracy in our country.”

February 27, 2017
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/ 01:12 AM February 28, 2017
drilon-1

Senator Franklin Drilon. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO/JOAN BONDOC

It took only 15 minutes on Monday for the Senate leadership to form a new majority—by kicking out President Duterte’s critics from the bloc.

Senators in the majority said their Liberal Party (LP) colleagues had it coming, as they had voted against the majority on controversial issues, to the detriment of public interest.

They underscored the need to clear the blurred line between the majority and the minority.

The LP senators said they were not surprised, as they had heard talk of a reorganization before Mr. Duterte’s allies struck on Monday.

Senate President Pro Tempore Franklin Drilon, the LP vice chair, lost his position as the No. 2 man in the chamber.

Along with Senators Francis Pangilinan, Bam Aquino and Risa Hontiveros, Drilon and his group became the new minority bloc, which was left with only one member—Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV—after Senators Ralph Recto and Francis Escudero joined the majority.

The new minority is expected to be joined by Sen. Leila de Lima, who is jailed at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center in Camp Crame, Quezon City, while awaiting trial on drug charges.

Recto was elected to replace Drilon as Senate President Pro Tempore.

Vice President Leni Robredo, the leader of the opposition to Mr. Duterte, slammed the expulsion of the LP senators from the Senate majority as a silencing of dissent that had happened before, referring to martial law during the time of dictator Ferdinand Marcos, and warned that the reorganization in the Senate could be a portent of things to come.

Robredo said democracy demanded dissent, and that critics of the administration would “not be silenced.”

Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III, Mr. Duterte’s right-hand man in the Senate, defended the expulsion of the LP senators, saying the majority “decided that to best achieve the legislative agenda, clear lines have to be drawn.”

But, he said in a statement, the Senate would “remain independent and true to its role as the last bastion of democracy in our country.”

Numbers game

Drilon said the realignment happened because it was a “numbers game.”

“They have the numbers,” he said, reminding Pimentel that the LP supported him in the race for Senate President.

Asked whether the changes had to do with the coming investigation of the confession of a hit man who linked Mr. Duterte to killings in Davao when he was the mayor of the city, Drilon said: “They are the ones who kicked us out, so you ask them.”

The formation of a new Senate majority came after most of the senators, including the LP lawmakers, voted to hear the testimony of retired police officer Arturo Lascañas, who disclosed last week that he killed people on orders from Mr. Duterte.

It was Sen. Emmanuel Pacquiao, an ally of Mr. Duterte, who started the move to rid the majority of the LP senators.

Shortly after the session started on Monday afternoon, Pacquiao stood up and moved to declare Drilon’s position vacant.

Drilon himself stood up to say he seconded the motion of Pacquiao, who in turn moved for Recto made new Senate President Pro Tempore.

Pimentel divided the house for a vote.

With a vote of 17-6, Recto was elected as the new Senate President Pro Tempore and he immediately took his oath before Pimentel.

The 17 who voted for Recto were Pimentel, Escudero, Pacquiao, Pangilinan and Senators Nancy Binay, Alan Peter Cayetano, JV Ejercito, Win Gatchalian, Richard Gordon, Gregorio Honasan, Panfilo Lacson, Loren Legarda, Grace Poe, Vicente Sotto, Joel Villanueva, Cynthia Villar and Juan Miguel Zubiri.

The senators who voted against Recto were Recto himself, Drilon, Aquino, Hontiveros and Sen. Sonny Angara.

After that, Pacquiao took the floor again to make successive motions—to declare vacant the chairmanships and memberships of the committeees on health (held by Hontiveros), agriculture (Pangilinan) and education (Aquino).

Pacquiao moved for the appointment of Ejercito as health committee chair and this was seconded by Hontiveros; for Villar to be named agriculture committee chair, which Pangilinan seconded, and for Escudero to be made education chair. —WITH A REPORT FROM NIKKO DIZON

Read more: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/876109/lp-members-ousted-from-senate-majority#ixzz4ZuiOlcet
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Philippines: Is a United Nations investigation next after testimony that President Duterte is a serial killer

February 21, 2017
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An emotional retired police officer Arthur Lascañas tells a news conference at the Philippine Senate in suburban Pasay city, south of Manila, Philippines, Monday, Feb. 20, 2017. Lascanas said President Rodrigo Duterte, when he was a city mayor, ordered and paid him and other members of a so-called liquidation squad to kill criminals and opponents, including a kidnapping suspect and his entire family and a critical radio commentator. AP/Bullit Marquez

MANILA, Philippines — The allegations of retiring police officer Arthur Lascañas should prompt an urgent United Nations investigation into the administration’s brutal war on drugs, a top human rights agency said.

In a statement on Monday, New York-based Human Rights Watch said Lascañas’ allegations heightened the urgent need for an independent probe into the deaths of more than 7,000 individuals in the drug war.

The group said the probe will uncover ultimately responsibility for those crimes.

“The disclosures also suggest possible motivations for the Duterte administration’s moves to launch a politically motivated prosecution of Senator Leila de Lima, who as chair of the Commission on Human Rights in 2009 launched the only official investigation into the Davao Death Squad killings,” HRW Deputy Asia Director Phelim Kine said.

On Monday, Lascañas appeared before the media to retract his previous denials that he was involved in the killing of scores of people under the orders of former Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, who is not Philippine president.

Lascañas said that the so-called Davao Death Squad exists, as he was a member of the group purportedly founded by Duterte in 1988.

Kine, meanwhile, repeated an earlier call to Philippine authorities to immediately drop the “political motivated charges” against De Lima.

READ: Human Rights Watch: Drop politically motivated charges vs De Lima

“The authorities should immediately drop all charges against Senator de Lima, cease their harassment of her and cooperate fully with a UN probe,” he said.

In late January, the HRW said the UN should lead an independent investigation into killings linked to  Duterte’s war on drugs.

 

Prior to that, UN’s human rights chief last December 2016 asked the Philippine authorities to investigate Duterte for murder after he claimed to have killed people in the past and to also look into the “shocking number of killings” under his brutal crackdown on illegal drugs. — Philstar.com file video taken in December 2016

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/02/21/1674405/un-probe-dutertes-drug-war-urged-after-ex-cops-confession

Philippines senator wants UN Investigation Into Extrajudicial Killings — Overwhelmed With Threats if Violence Against Her

September 21, 2016
Opposition Senator Leila De Lima delivers a speech during the Philippine Senate session a day after being ousted from the chairmanship of the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2016 at suburban Pasay city south of Manila, Philippines. De Lima, who led an investigation into President Rodrigo Duterte’s anti-drug campaign, was ousted Monday from the justice committee in a vote that human rights advocates said could derail accountability in the crackdown. AP Photo/Bullit Marquez

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.

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2016/09/22/1626245/de-lima-seeks-un-probe-drug-killings

Related:

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Leila besieged by threats

Sen. Leila De Lima said allies of the administration have basically destroyed her right to privacy and security in her communications and in her home. Senate of the Philippines Facebook page

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

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2016/09/22/1626237/leila-besieged-threats