MANILA – Senator Leila de Lima on Wednesday sought United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on summary executions Dr. Agnes Callamard to investigate on the alleged extrajudicial killings linked to the Duterte administration’s intensified illegal drugs campaign in the country.
“Unless a third-party investigator comes in, there is reason to believe that we may not be able to ferret out the whole truth behind the killings, and to serve complete justice to the victims and the Filipino people,” De Lima said.
Under Senate Resolution No. 153, De Lima urged the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to invite Dr. Callamard to look into the spate of extrajudicial killings and summary executions.
De Lima, former justice secretary, said that multilateral organizations, such as the UN and the European Union, have expressed grave concerns over the drug-related killings in the country.
She further said that even local as well as international media have taken special interests in reporting the administration-sponsored “war on drugs.”
The lady senator also pointed out how Senate witness Edgar Matobato, a former member of the vigilante group, Davao Death Squad, has implicated President Rodrigo Duterte in some deaths of persons in Davao City.
Being a signatory to various UN Conventions, De Lima said the Philippine government may pursue an impartial investigation through an independent commission of inquiry to be conducted by the UN Special Rapporteur.
Under the UN Human Rights Council’s Resolution 26/12, the Special Rapporteur “undertakes visits to examine the situation of extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary execution in the respective country, and to formulate recommendations to the government and other actors on upholding the right to life.”
“Such on-site visits by the Special Rapporteur can be initiated by an official invitation from a concerned government, such as the Philippines,” she added.
According to De Lima, based on official figures, as of last Sept. 14, there are 3,173 persons killed since the all-out war on illegal drugs has started last July 1, of whom 1,138 were killed in police operations while 2,035 were victims of extrajudicial or vigilante killings.
De Lima’s resolution came after she had been ousted as chairperson of the Senate committee on justice and human rights last Monday (Sept. 19) after neophyte Senator Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao moved to declare vacant the entire justice committee membership.
A total of 16 senators voted in favor of Pacquiao’s motion while De Lima’s four fellow Liberal Party members opposed and two senators abstained.