Leni calls for end to extrajudicial killings

Helen Flores - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Leni Robredo warned yesterday of what she described as the growing culture of fear in the country as she called anew for an investigation and end to extrajudicial killings.

“We strongly condemn the spate of extrajudicial killings that have occurred recently. This senseless and unjust violence must stop,” Robredo said. 

“We should not foster a culture of fear in our society – one that tacitly accepts death and one that does not give respect to human life,” she said.

Robredo made the appeal after five persons were reported to have been shot dead in Malabon by motorcycle-riding armed men while another man suspected of being a drug pusher was killed in Quezon City in what the victim’s sister said was a case of mistaken identity.

The Vice President, who is a lawyer, called on authorities to investigate and prosecute those behind the killings.

“We urge the authorities to seriously investigate these killings and bring those responsible to justice,” she said.

“The rise in extrajudicial killings is a call for all of us to uphold every person’s right to due process,” Robredo said, noting that each person killed over an alleged crime was denied his right to a fair trial. 

Robredo asked Filipinos to stand together in defending human rights, as well as the rights of those who could not fight for themselves.

According to reports, three drug suspects were killed between July 17 and 19 and more than a hundred others had died since June 30, some in anti-drug operations and others by unknown killers. 

Last week, the Vice President called for an investigation into the rising number of people killed by the police in anti-drug operations.

Robredo said while she was supporting President Duterte’s fight against illegal drugs, it must be done without compromising the rule of law.

“While we are one with the fight against drugs, we are concerned with the growing culture of vigilantism and violence. We hope that the war is not done at the expense of the innocent and defenseless,” Robredo said.

“We encourage authorities concerned to look into these cases. If there is really culpability, then justice requires that appropriate cases be filed and that those proven to be accountable be punished,” she said.

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