Gordon: Duterte’s 'killing' talk fuels extrajudicial killings issue

Rosette Adel - Philstar.com

MANILA, Philippines – Sen. Richard “Dick” Gordon, Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights chair, on Monday said President Rodrigo Duterte’s move to announce he is willing to kill drug pushers or addicts may be a misstep.

Gordon said public concern over the rising number of unexplained drug-related killings needs to be addressed with an investigation led by the president, the Philippine National Police (PNP) chief and provincial police directors. However, he said, Duterte, whom he described as “noisy” imperils the country and the drug war in the face of the world.

In his speeches, Duterte has repeatedly mentioned wanting to kill drug lords and talking about how drug peddlers will be killed.

 "Una, maingay ang pangulo. Sobrang ingay ng pangulo,” Gordon said on the fifth the day of the Senate panel's probe into drug-related killings.

“Tama lang na ipakita niya na galit siya sa droga pero wag na siya mag-ingay na: ‘Papatayin kita’, ‘I  will kill you.’ Hindi tama iyan. Kaya he is falling on his own sword, nadadapa siya sa kanyang espada dahil salita siya ng salita napagbibintangan tuloy ang buong bansa na ‘yan ang nangyayari (alleged extrajudicial killings),” he added.

Gordon clarified that he is friends with Duterte but he does not agree with the president's move to regularly speak and be vocal about his drug war plans. He suggested the president should instead order the police force to arrest and investigate those involved in cases of unexplained killings.

The senator said Duterte’s pronouncements affects how drug pushers and dealers act, which he said has also led to a rising number of deaths in recent months. The PNP has said the deaths during legitimate police operations were caused by suspects fighting back.

“Alam nila there is already.. sinasabi ng presidente na papatayin sila so lalaban na yan, kaya marami ring namamatay,” Gordon said, adding he is not defending the PNP.

Duterte schooled PNP Director General Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa saying that when he was a mayor in Olongapo City, he upheld the welfare of police officers and of suspects alike. He said that he even established a “People’s Law Enforcement Board”  in 1991, protecting the rights of the citizenry against erring and abusive policemen, which he said he sought to push in the Senate.

According to PNP, there are 2,066 "death under investigation" incidents. Deaths that happen outside actual police operations are considered deaths under investigation. Of that number, 1,910 incidents remain pending and 524 have had cases filed already.

Dela Rosa said that investigations are ongoing and assured senators that the results will be reported in due time. “We will do our best to come up with satisfactory investigation,” he said.

Meanwhile, Gordon also addressed the foreign media and allayed their fears saying they should not worry about the Philippines as the Senate is already investigating the alleged extrajudicial killings.

“I don’t care what you say about us. We have not thrown [out] the rule book because the Senate is investigating the extrajudicial killings [or] whatever you wanna define it. Kaya ‘wag kayo matakot sa Pilipinas because the Senate is investigating,” Gordon said.

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