Senator Richard Gordon, chair of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, presides over an inquiry into the reported destructive mining operations in the province of Zambales and the alleged smuggling of Philippine soil used by China to build its man-made islands in the disputed West Philippine Sea, Monday, October 17, 2016.
Senate PRIB/Cesar Tomambo
Gordon: Panel report on drug-related killings out this week
(Philstar.com) - October 17, 2016 - 6:17pm

MANILA, Philippines (Philippines News Agency) – Sen. Richard “Dick” Gordon on Monday said the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights will release its report on the inquiry into the rising number of drug-related killings this week.

Gordon said the Senate panel is set to make the report public since it has already finished the first draft of the committee report.  

“We have finished the first draft. We’ll go with the second draft hopefully as early as tomorrow (Tuesday) or as late as Wednesday. It will be (released) before the break,” Gordon told reporters in an interview.

Gordon did not reveal the contents of the committee report but said that the Senate panel will recommend the filing of charges against witness and confessed hitman Edgar Matobato.

“He can be charged with perjury and murder because he admitted. We will submit it to proper authorities for proper disposition,” Gordon said.

The senator, however, said that he still does not trust the testimony of Matobato since it was riddled with “lies.”

Senate to propose measures for police force

Also included in the committee report will be recommendations to make it “easier” to charge wayward police officers, Gordon said.

“In the future, it will be easier for them (police) to be charged,” the senator said, adding that there should be rigid deadlines for police officers investigating crimes within their jurisdictions.

Gordon said investigations should only last three days. After probe, the senator said suspension and dismissal of police involved shall be implemented right away with criminal cases automatically filed by the Department of Justice.

“Dapat mabilis din mag-imbistiga ang Internal Affairs Service ng Philippine National Police, although administrative case lang ang puwede nilang i-file,” the senator said.

The Senate panel chair said he will also recommend amendments to existing laws so that the chiefs of police or higher-ranking officers in-charge of police stations, provinces or regions could be sanctioned should they be remiss in their duties of ensuring that crimes within their jurisdictions are solved with dispatch.

"You commit crime by omission or commission. Dapat yung mga hepe, ginagawa yung trabaho nila. When you omit to do your duty, that's a crime, pag wala kang naso-solve sa mga crimes sa presinto mo, dapat suspindihin or i-dismiss ka," Gordon said.

Aside from proposed measures for charges, Gordon said the Senate committee will also recommend requiring the Philippine National Police to regularly submit to both Houses of Congress a list of index crimes across the country which would serve as reference for creating proposed legislation. He said he will also propose budget for the procurement of body cameras for law enforcers responding to crime alerts or conducting police operations for visual documentation.

Bigger license plates for motorcycles

Gordon said he will also push for the enactment of a law requiring bigger plate numbers for motorcycles to take a bite out of crime.

"Dapat ang plate number ng mga motorsiko, malalaki para madaling makita. Pag ginamit ng mga motorcycle-riding tandems sa paggawa ng krimen, makikita agad at madaling maituturo ng mga witnesses," he pointed out.

Asked if he believed that extrajudicial killings were state-sponsored, Gordon pointed out that killings began even before the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.

“If you look at our reports, there are many from 2010 to 2016. We are looking at the extrajudicial killings. There are many of them,” he said.

“Definitely, there are many killings. To be fair, there were many killings in the past that have not been solved. It only seems to be a fad now because our president is noisy,” he added.

On Sunday, Gordon said the investigation in aid of legislation conducted by the joint Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights and the Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs on the spate of recent and rampant killings has been terminated after six hearings. He said the senators already gathered sufficient information from the hearings.

"We are terminating the investigation as far as recent and rampant killings is concerned. We already learned enough to enable us to craft proposed measures that would improve law enforcement procedures in the country. If it's possible, we will submit it by Monday or if you allow us some leeway, within the week," Gordon said in a released statement.

Gordon emphasized the Senate inquiry established the importance of rule of law for the country.

"We have established na may rule of law sa ating bayan. It is not perfect but you can see that the branches of government are working. There is a rule of law, the Rule Book has not been thrown out of the window. There is no proof to show that there is a sustained systematic policy of state-sponsored killings. The President is motivated to kill the use of illegal drugs because he really means to eradicate illegal drugs. But I don't think he is really going to push anybody and say kill," he added.

The 17th Congress is set to take a break from Oct. 22 to Nov. 6, 2016. —PNA/Azer Parrocha with reports from Philstar.com/Rosette Adel

DICK GORDON EDGAR MATOBATO EXTRAJUDICIAL KILLINGS SENATE
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