MANILA—Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero on Thursday sought for a probe into Amnesty International’s (AI) claims that the “Duterte administration has ordered and even paid some police to kill alleged drug suspects “.
Escudero said that he will be filing a resolution next week for the Senate to look into what he described as “serious allegations” by the international human rights watchdog.
In AI’s report titled, “If you are poor you are killed”: Extrajudicial Executions in the Philippines’ “War on Drugs”, the organization detailed how the police have targeted the poor and plant evidence, recruit paid killers, steal from the people they kill and fabricate official incident reports.
“This is a serious allegation from an international body that we should find out whether they have basis or not,” Escudero. He noted that their allegations are soiling the country’s reputation.
Escudero, former chair of the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights, said he also wanted Amnesty International to explain their findings and present their sources at the legislative inquiry.
He was alarmed by the claim that hired killers were being engaged by the police force to help in the war against drugs of the government.
The Senate investigation, he added, will give the PNP a chance to convey their side of the story.
“We want the AI to explain the basis of their report, the police officers mentioned, and whoever is willing to show evidence related to this. We have two goals: First, to prove if the allegations of AI are true and second, to allow the PNP to face the AI, and explain their side to the public,” said Escudero.
The senator assured procedural safeguards for sources of AI and all the other witnesses who will be invited to the Senate probe.
“We can always call for an executive session in order to hear the testimony of witnesses. We have done it before and we do not reveal what is discussed in the executive session except the result of our votes on sensitive topics. The Senate is ready to accept secret witnesses to assure their safety,” he added.