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‘No death penalty means no EJK’

Alexis Romero - The Philippine Star
âNo death  penalty means  no EJKâ

There are no extrajudicial killings (EJKs) in the Philippines because there is no death penalty, Malacañang said yesterday as it stressed that slain drug suspects either fought with police or were killed by drug syndicates. AP/Bullit Marquez, File

MANILA, Philippines — There are no extrajudicial killings (EJKs) in the Philippines because there is no death penalty, Malacañang said yesterday as it stressed that slain drug suspects either fought with police or were killed by drug syndicates.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) has drawn flak after declaring that there is not a single EJK in the country despite the rising number of deaths linked to President Duterte’s war on drugs.

Officials have defended the claim, citing Administrative Order 35, which defined EJK as the killing of members of cause-oriented organizations, advocates, media practitioners or victims of mistaken identity. Malacañang has said that the order, issued by former president Benigno Aquino III, has not been revoked so the definition of EJK remains the same.

Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar insisted that there is no EJK in the Philippines because state-sponsored killings are not allowed under the Constitution

“We do not have judicial killing, we do not have capital punishment. It is prohibited to kill in our country. So why is there extrajudicial killing when there is no judicial killing? Why put ‘extra?’ So there are no extrajudicial killings in our country. There is no judicial killing, it is not state sponsored, it is not legal, it is not in our Constitution,” Andanar told radio station dzBB yesterday.

But Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon described the PNP claim as propaganda, saying over dzBB “they (PNP) are trying to take us for fools. Do they actually think the people will believe them?”

The Commission on Human Rights has also described the government’s definition of EJKs as “inappropriate,” noting that AO 35 was issued to address politically motivated killings.

Andanar also dared the policemen who went to the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines to confess their involvement in EJKs to show proof that the government is behind the killings.

“They should show proof. It is easy to talk and to make allegations… Gather the evidence, file cases. It’s easy to make noise, for example, that there are 13,000 people who were killed. With regard to EJK, the government has real numbers and only 3,000 died because of drug operations,” Andanar said.

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