Minority Bloc seeks probe into Cebu killings: Senate stepping in
Jean Marvette A. Demecillo, May B. Miasco (The Freeman) - October 12, 2018 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — Alarmed by the spate of killings in Metro Cebu, some of which purportedly committed by police officers, the Senate minority bloc has called for an inquiry into the series of murders.

In filing Senate Resolution 915, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, Senators Francis Pangilinan, Paolo Benigno Aquino IV, Risa Hontiveros, Antonio Trillanes IV, and Leila de Lima said they were gravely concerned about the killings that were said to be part of the government’s all-out war against drugs.

“The allegation that police officers themselves are behind some of the killings is highly disturbing,” they said.

The FREEMAN sought the comment of Police Regional Office-7 Director Chief Supt. Debold Sinas yesterday but he declined to issue a statement.

“No comment. We will wait for instructions from the national police headquarters,” Sinas said.

At least 42 killings have been recorded in Cebu over the last two weeks. That translates to an average of three persons getting killed across the province everyday for the last 14 days. The figure includes those who died during police operations and those killed by unidentified perpetrators.

Opposition senators previously issued a statement expressing alarm over the brazenness of the killings in the country, especially in Metro Cebu where several of the suspected drug personalities were killed in police operations.

The senators noted how the killings of the suspected drug offenders were justified by the police with the oft-repeated narrative that they resisted arrest.

“The recurring narrative of ‘nanlaban’ or suspects having resisted arrest, has been serving as a wrongful justification for fatalities during the conduct of police operations to curtail proliferation of illegal drugs,” the senators stated.

Doings of Tom?

In Cebu City, two opposition councilors believe Mayor Tomas Osmeña may have a hand on the call to investigate the killings at the Senate.

Councilors Raymond Alvin Garcia and Joel Garganera said Liberal Party, the minority bloc at the Senate, is behind the proposed inquiry.

“Of course, those who will file that (proposal) are all LP. Nagsabot na na silang BOPK uy ni Tommy nga maoy i-file para mapakauwawan nila si President (Rodrigo) Duterte ug ang mga police. That’s obvious uy. Definitely, gikan gyud nang Tommy,” Garcia told reporters.

“Mayor Osmeña is telling the opposition senators, labi na party members, to file that resolution…to conduct an investigation,” he added.

Garcia said it was Osmeña who has been vocal on his “theories” that police are behind the spate of killings in Metro Cebu.

Garganera, for his part, said the LP senators called for the investigation as their “way of helping” out Osmeña.

Osmeña has not been holding press conference since August 22, even before he became the subject of a tongue-lashing by Duterte during a speech at the charter day anniversary of Mandaue City last August 30.

The mayor announced he would no longer hold press conference until September 9. After that, the mayor continued to skip conferences with the media.

In his speech in Mandaue, Duterte slammed Osmeña for reportedly telling the national government to “leave Cebu alone,” and for reportedly accusing the former of protecting drug lords.

Osmeña started to express his apprehensions that police may be behind the killings in Metro Cebu after the supposed assassination of his ally, Tejero councilman Jessielou Cadungog, whose alleged gunman was a policeman.

As of yesterday, Osmeña has not issued a statement on the allegations of the opposition councilors.

Cebu image tarnished

According to Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, Cebu’s image of religiosity is seemingly marred by the spate of killings.

Palma admitted that people outside Cebu are asking him why killings have been rampant here. Apparently, he had no direct response.

Palma, who concelebrated Mass to welcome the arrival of the incorrupt heart relic of St. Pio in Cebu, exhorted attendees to deepen their prayers imploring peace.

He also called on Catholics to ask for intercession of St. Padre Pio, that aside from praying for their personal intentions of healing and renewal, they also include their earnest request for a peaceful city and province.

Palma said it may be a shame that the present Cebu, widely known as the cradle of Christianity in the Far East, has been a ground for bloody executions.

Palma told the faithful that St. Pio’s heart could hear the heart or the longings and desires of penitents who venerate and pray before him.

And it is also the longing of the local Church community that Cebu may be a peaceful place, meaning free of killings, he said.

“We hope that the visit of Padre Pio’s heart would reveal the longings of our heart especially of our desire for peace,” he said. “We do not have the power to stop all the killings and all the evils in the world. But we trust in God’s own time… We will never give up praying and we will also not give up doing the good that we can do.” — Philippine Star News Service

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