De Lima files Senate resolution to probe extrajudicial killings

Patricia Lourdes Viray - Philstar.com

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Leila de Lima has filed a resolution which seeks a Senate inquiry on the rising number of extrajudicial killings and summary executions of suspected criminals.

The former Justice secretary and Commission on Human Rights chairperson filed the resolution on Wednesday afternoon.

"Extrajudicial or summary killing is homicide. Carried out premeditatedly and in conspiracy with other public authorities, it becomes mass murder, which, if left unabated and unchecked, can escalate into a crime against humanity under international law," De Lima said in the resolution.

Senate Resolution 9 seeks to strengthen the accountability of law enforcers and to institute corrective legislative measures to ensure full respect for basic human rights.

The resolution cited a report by a newspaper that the death toll of summary killings had reached 136 within the first 13 days from the inauguration of President Rodrigo Duterte on June 30.

A television network also reported that the body count from May 10 to July 12 has reached 339, according to De Lima's resolution.

"Whereas, regardless of the question of whether those killed were in fact criminals, precisely because there was no opportunity for them to be prosecuted before a court of law, the fight against crime is apparently becoming a looming state-sanctioned cover for a policy of summary executions and extrajudicial killings of any and all suspected criminals," the resolution read.

De Lima noted that in most cases it appears that the use of force of law enforcers in arresting suspected criminals fails to comply with the legal criteria of absolute necessity and proportionality.

The senator stressed that the right to life is the most fundamental and basic of human rights.

The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights states that "every human being has the inherent right to life. This right shall be protected by law."

De Lima said that its is urgent to look into the factual and legal issues related to the rising rate of extrajudicial killings and summary executions.

In his inaugural speech, Duterte stressed that he would adhere to due process and rule of law in fighting drugs and criminality.

During the turnover ceremony at the Philippine National Police, Duterte also reminded police personnel that they may only shoot criminals when they act in defense of themselves or a stranger.

"If there is a resistance that plays your life in jeopardy then by all means shoot and shoot him dead. That is my order," Duterte told the PNP.

RELATED: Duterte tells cops: Do your duty, I will die for you

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