Church worker reports to UN: 223 drug-related killings under Marcos Jr.

Church worker reports to UN: 223 drug-related killings under Marcos Jr.
This file photo shows individuals joining a protest against the government's bloody war on drugs.
The STAR / Miguel de Guzman, File

MANILA, Philippines — Drug-related killings in the Philippines continue under President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s administration, the National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP) has told the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC).

NCCP Program Secretary for Faith, Witness, and Service Mervin Sol Toquero said there were 223 drug-related killings since July 2022, the month Marcos took office. He added that there continues to be “minimal accountability” from perpetrators.

RELATED: 'Nothing's changed': Watchdog says 'drug war' killings continue under Marcos

The report comes as the Philippine UPR (Universal Periodic Review) Watch is in Switzerland to partake in the 52nd Regular Session of the UNHRC’s adoption of recommendations made in the 4th UPR held in November last year.

The NCCP is a co-convenor of the Philippine UPR Watch. 

Manila is expected to adopt 215 out of the 289 recommendations made by other UN-member states. The NCCP noted that the Philippines may reject proposals like repealing “weaponized” laws.

Rejoining ICC

Some of the recommendations include rejoining the International Criminal Court, but chances of it being an accepted as a recommendation remains slim. 

The Duterte administration withdrew its membership from the International Criminal Court in 2018, which formally took effect in 2019, after the tribunal launched a preliminary examination into the alleged crimes of humanity committed to pursue the administration’s “war on drugs.”

Solicitor General Menardo Guevarra said the government hired international lawyer Sarah Bafadhel to aid the Philippines’ case to stop the ICC probe. 

READ: Philippines taps foreign lawyer in ICC drug war probe

“We ask this council to continue urging the Philippine government to cooperate with the ICC as this would provide viable accountability mechanisms and combat impunity,” Toquero said.

Aside from the casualties from a continued “drug war,” Toquero also raised concerns regarding the targeting of human rights defenders and development and humanitarian workers. The UNHRC is urged to also call on the Philippine government to enact the Human Rights Defenders Bill before congress. 
RELATED: Bill protecting human rights defenders hurdles House panel 

— Kaycee Valmonte

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