MANILA— A group filed a mandamus petition before the Supreme Court (SC) seeking to direct concerned government agencies to conduct a thorough investigation on all killings related to President Rodrigo Duterte’s war against illegal drugs.
The petitioners led by lawyer Evalyn Ursua filed a 26-page petition dated Sept. 22 for a writ of continuing mandamus asking the high court’s intervention to order the concerned government agencies to impose proactive and institutional measures to prevent extrajudicial killings.
The petitioners claimed that the respondents have so far failed to perform their constitutional duty to prevent violations of the right to life and to investigate and prosecute such violations.
“Respondents should be directed, through a writ of continuing mandamus, to perform their duties under the law, to take adequate appropriate measures, and to report to the Honorable Court on the actions and measures taken,” the petition read.
“Public interest would be served by compelling prompt, thorough, impartial, independent, and transparent official inquiry into the trail of deaths, reportedly related to the government’s anti-illegal drug operations. Respondents must be called upon to perform their duties of conducting investigations and prosecuting the perpetrators of killings, if warranted,” it added.
Named respondents in the petition were Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II and Commission on Human Rights Chair Chito Gascon.
By granting a writ of continuing mandamus, the petitioners said the court would be able to “ensure that respondents perform their ministerial duties” as spelled out in the 1987 Constitution and various international treaties on human rights which the Philippine government had ratified.
They said the respondents failed to carry out their mandate to avoid the unnecessary loss of lives in stamping out illegal drugs, which the President had promised to accomplish within his first six months in office.
The other petitioners were Mary Jane Real, Maria Lulu Reyes, Joan Dymphna Saniel and Anna May Baquirin. The petitioners are all lawyers, except Baquirin.