Baguilat calls for Congress investigation on drug slays

>> Monday, July 11, 2016

IFUGAO Rep. Teddy Brawner Baguilat called for a congressional investigation in aid of legislation on the spate of extrajudicial killings or summary executions by police officers of suspected drug criminals.
“The Constitution mandates that no one should be deprived of life without due process of law, and that all accused are presumed innocent,” Baguilat said in a resolution filed in the House of Representatives.
“The spate of extrajudicial killings of suspected drug criminals by people we expect to uphold the law hints at a disrespect for the Constitution and the deterioration of the rule of law, and if we don’t stop it or look into its causes, soon enough, people will take the law into their own hands, leading to anarchy and the disintegration of society,” Baguilat added.
In his resolution, Baguilat noted that since the inauguration last June 30 of President Rodrigo Duterte, at least 23 suspected drug criminals have been killed by policemen under vague circumstances. 
Additionally, while the Philippine National Police recorded the killing of 68 suspected drug criminals from January 1 to June 15, 25 or almost half that number were killed in a mere five days from June 16 to 20, a “shocking increase in police-perpetrated killings,” according to Baguilat.
Baguilat also noted that no less than the Office of the President, through Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella, expressed alarm over the spate of killings, while cause-oriented groups like the National Union of People’s Lawyers, called for a stop to the killings.
“There is clearly a clamor from the public and government officials to at least look into these killings or executions, and it falls upon Congress, as an instrument of the rule of law, to scrutinize the circumstances behind these killings,” Baguilat said.
Baguilat did not discount that the killings may be due to lack of equipment or training on the part of the policemen concerned. 
“This only adds justification to the investigation I am calling for. If our police need more support to effectively fight the drug war, then proper legislation can guarantee they get the support they need,” Baguilat said.

“All good Filipinos abhor illegal drugs. But the war on drugs cannot be fought at the cost of innocent lives, the very people that the war is trying to protect. For the sake of innocent and law-abiding Filipinos, we must ensure that the law, the Constitution is upheld even in the face of a desperate war against drugs,” Baguilat remarked.


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