MANILA—Sen. Leila de Lima on Friday expressed support to the plan of Sen. Francis Escudero to file a resolution to probe the report of human rights watchdog Amnesty International that claims police gunned down and enlisted others to kill thousands of alleged drug offenders.
“I fully support Sen. Chiz Escudero’s move urging a Senate probe into the AI report,” De Lima said in a statement.
De Lima, former Justice Secretary and Commission on Human Rights chair, pointed out that after reviewing the AI report, she found out that there were “enough good leads there for a further, deeper probe”.
The neophyte senator said accounts of witnesses to a number of extrajudicial killings embodied in that report could be verified through a probe.
She further said that there were actual incidents cited with dates and names of victims and/or witnesses.
Escudero said the AI report are “series allegations” and wanted to find out whether their allegations had basis or not.
He also said that he wanted the human rights watchdog to explain their findings and present their sources at the legislative inquiry and give the PNP a chance to convey their side of the story.
Sen. Richard Gordon, however, said that he was not willing to conduct a probe into their allegations unless they present solid evidence to back up their allegations.
Gordon, chair of the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights, said that reports he got were “mostly hearsay”.
Sen. Panfilo Lacson, like Gordon, also urged the AI to present evidence and pointed out that the organization had had previous allegations that were not supported by facts.
He said their allegations gave the country a bad reputation and it was citizens’ job to demand proof.
Despite Gordon’s disapproval, De Lima, however said that if the Senate waited for more proof “it won’t ever be able to conduct a single inquiry.”
“The point of a Senate investigation is precisely to investigate, and investigation means the facts are not yet all available, that is why there is a need for the Senate to further investigate,” De Lima said.