De Lima: Senate probe on killings good for drug war
Paolo Romero (The Philippine Star) - August 16, 2016 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Sen. Leila de Lima yesterday invited President Duterte to monitor the Senate public hearings next week as she assured the Chief Executive that the investigation into alleged extrajudicial killings of drug pushers is meant to strengthen the administration’s war on drugs.

In an open letter to Duterte written in Filipino, De Lima said the Senate inquiry to find out the truth behind the extrajudicial killings is similar to the administration’s investigations into individuals and syndicates behind the proliferation of illegal drugs in the country.

“In coming out with the truth, we want the campaign against drugs and criminality to succeed by crafting laws to help our authorities discharge their duties properly,” the senator said.

“Most of all, we also share your goals, President Duterte, in strengthening our legal system to ensure that the rule of law and respect for human rights prevail all the time,” she said.

De Lima’s committee on justice and human rights and the committee on public order and illegal drugs chaired by Sen. Panfilo Lacson are set to conduct a joint inquiry on the extrajudicial killings on Aug. 22 and 23.

She said there are “indications and theories” that not all of the killings were related to drugs but could be part of the campaign by unscrupulous government officials and their cohorts to cover up their involvement in the drug trade.

“They are not helping but diverting the direction of the fight against drugs and sabotaging the noble intentions of the campaign,” she said.

Chief presidential legal counsel Salvador Panelo downplayed De Lima’s advice for the President to monitor the Senate probe on the killings, saying Duterte watches television everyday.

“He doesn’t have to be invited to watch. What I know personally, he does watch television,” Panelo added.

Despite the human rights concerns raised by the United Nations and the United States over the killings of drug suspects, Duterte does not care if he ends his presidency with blood on his hands as long as he dismantles the deeply entrenched drug problem in the country.

“At the end of the day what would I say, you know, I simply (have) one promise, I keep on repeating it – I will give you a clean government, then I will crush the drug problem and criminality, even if I have to soak my blood, so be it. You have to stop. Or else, wala talaga tayo (we won’t amount to anything),” Duterte said.

Duterte reiterated that the next generation of Filipinos would be destroyed by illegal drugs if the government fails to address the problem now. – With Cecille Suerte Felipe, Giovanni Nilles, Christina Mendez

 

 

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