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Justice in sight for kin of EJK victims
In her request, Bensouda said she found “reasonable basis” to believe that the killing of thousands of drug suspects and other alleged criminals by state security forces and their vigilante cohorts from 2016 to 2019 constituted crime against humanity.
Miguel De Guzman, file

Justice in sight for kin of EJK victims

Marc Jayson Cayabyab (The Philippine Star) - June 16, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — For loved ones and kin of victims of alleged extrajudicial killings, justice may now be around the corner after outgoing International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor Fatou Bensouda finally sought judicial authorization to proceed with an investigation into the killings reportedly done in pursuit of President Duterte’s so-called war against criminality, especially drug offenders.

The development, which came three years after Bensouda launched her preliminary examination of human rights abuses in the country, was lauded by Nelia (not her real name), whose live-in partner was killed in an “execution-style” police operation in 2016, and by Llore Benedicto Pasco, who lost her two sons in a similar police operation in 2017.

In her request, Bensouda said she found “reasonable basis” to believe that the killing of thousands of drug suspects and other alleged criminals by state security forces and their vigilante cohorts from 2016 to 2019 constituted crime against humanity.

Pasco’s sons Crisanto Lozano and Juan Carlos were killed by police in an alleged operation against a robbery holdup group in Quezon City in May 2017.

Pasco revealed to The STAR her being charged P75,000 by a funeral parlor for the release of her sons’ bodies. The funeral home was reportedly owned by a police officer, she said.

She said she believed police officers received commission from the hefty fees charged by funeral homes.

“Nakasilip na kami ng kaunting liwanag na magkakaroon talaga ng hustisya sa darating na panahon (We can see a glimmer of hope that there will be justice in due time),” Pasco told The STAR yesterday.

Nelia, for her part, said her partner was among the four killed in a police operation in Payatas, Quezon City in August 2016.

The victims, who were scavengers, were described by news reports as being killed “execution-style” allegedly by the police, who made it appear that the incident was an encounter.

One of the victims’ companions, Efren Morillo survived by playing dead.

Citing news reports, Bensouda said Morillo accused the police of tying them up and shooting them “execution-style.” Nelia’s partner was the last to be killed. Another 14-year-old witness saw her partner begging for his life, Nelia told The STAR. – Edu Punay, Rhodina Villanueva, Janvic Mateo

EXTRAJUDICIAL KILLINGS
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