CHR probes 55 alleged EJKs during virus lockdown
This undated photo shows Manila cops manning a checkpoint in Manila during the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine.
The STAR/Miguel de Guzman
CHR probes 55 alleged EJKs during virus lockdown
Gaea Katreena Cabico (Philstar.com) - July 2, 2020 - 10:56am

MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Human Rights said it has monitored 55 complaints of alleged extrajudicial killings while the country was under community quarantine to slow the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

“Even in terms of numbers, even if it slowed down, it’s still a death. It’s still an extrajudicial killing allegation,” CHR commissioner Karen Gomez-Dumpit said in an interview on ABS-CBN News Channel Thursday.

“We’re investigating all of that,” she added, without specifying how many of the executions were related to the government’s bloody war on drugs.

Gomez-Dumpit also said that the commission has monitored a total of 817 complaints related to virus lockdown. Most of the complaints were about government assistance and financial aid, followed by torture, and cruel and degrading treatment or punishment.

In May, the Philippine National Police said anti-narcotics operations will continue even as the country deals with the COVID-19 crisis.

“Even with the ongoing health crisis, police anti-illegal drugs operations will continue without let-up and will be unrelenting as ever,” Police Gen. Archie Gamboa said.

Latest government figures put the number of alleged drug personalities killed in the war on drugs at 5,601. But it is significantly lower than the estimates by human rights watchdogs of as many as 27,000 killed. 

Gov’t panel on drug killings

The CHR official said the commission welcomed the creation of an inter-agency panel that seeks to investigate killings related to the government’s brutal drug war.

But Gomez-Dumpit said the panel must look at not only the numbers provided by the government.

“Go beyond government numbers because there are killings, many many killings beyond the official numbers and they have to ensure these are investigated,” she said.

“We hope there is better cooperation, full transparency and of course we need to get access to all these reports that have been kept from us, including not only spot reports but autopsy reports,” she added.

In a report presented to the United Nations Human Rights Council Tuesday, UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet said the Philippine government’s war on drugs has resulted in serious human rights violations, including “widespread and systematic” extrajudicial killings.

“The campaign against illegal drugs is being carried out without due regard for the rule of law, due process and the human rights of people who may be using or selling drugs,” Bachelet said.

She said her office has also found “near-total impunity” for drug war killings, “indicating an unwillingness by the State to hold to account perpetrators of extrajudicial killings.”

COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS EXTRAJUDICIAL KILLINGS NOVEL CORONAVIRUS
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