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De Lima decries 'do-it-yourself' justice vs drug suspects

Sen. Leila M. De Lima in a privilege speech decried the latest spate of killings targeting alleged drug pushers and drug personalities, which she says disregards a person’s basic right to due process guaranteed to all under the Constitution. Senate PRIB/Alex Nuevaespaña

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Leila De Lima on Tuesday decried the "do-it-yourself justice" introduced in the current administration's war against drugs and criminality.

De Lima stressed that the current brand of justice in the country disregards the basic rights of innocents and suspects to due process.

The senator defended her call for an investigation on the rising number of extrajudicial killings and summary executions of alleged drug users and dealers.

'"In the campaign against criminality, we cannot applaud criminal methods merely because we are left unaffected. Life has more value than an accusation written on a piece of cardboard whether you are rich or a scum of the earth. Needless to say, all lives matter," De Lima said in her first privilege speech at the Senate.

The former Justice secretary said the Senate must continue to oppose the murder of innocents and suspects and call for accountability of those responsible for drug-related killings.

Official records of the Philippine National Police show that an average of 13 drug offenders have been killed in police operations from July 1 to August 1.

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"Higher figures are even reported by certain media outlets. I am not saying that all or most of those incidents are cases of summary killings. But several do have telltale signs that several are," the neophyte senator said.

De Lima also called out her critics who have been discrediting her for pursuing a Senate investigation on the series of extrajudicial and summary killings.

"I cannot stay silent in the face of all these blatant lies created in the backroom of a media strategy office suite. I will not fall without a fight," De Lima said.

The senator added that the attack against her is also an attack on the Senate as an independent institution.

"My defense against all this vilification is my untarnished record and reputation as a public servant... Huwag naman sana silang basta-basta na lang humusga, at patungan ako ng cardboard at balutin ng packing tape," De Lima said.

The Senate justice and human rights committee, headed by De Lima, and the Senate public order and illegal drugs committee chaired by Sen. Panfilo Lacson will open a joint investigation on the spate of extrajudicial killings and summary executions this month.

RELATED: Alvarez questions Senate probe into killings

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