Stop the killings!
End impunity! Human rights for all!
A Statement from Network
Against Killings in the Philippines (NAKPhilippines) forwarded by the
Asian Human Rights Commission
November 23, 2016
There has been an epidemic
of summary killings and extrajudicial executions across the
Philippines for decades now. From 1998 to December 2015, a total of
1,424 were documented to have been killed by the so-called Davao Death
Squad in Davao City. More such killings, often perpetrated by
so-called “riding in tandem” killers and death squads, had taken place
and continue to take place in other cities such as Tagum, Digos,
General Santos, Cagayan de Oro, Zamboanga, Cebu and in other cities in
the Visayas and Luzon.
In the first five months of
the Duterte administration, however, the killings have only gotten
worse, with nearly 5,000 people killed in its brutal war on drugs in
that short period. More than 2,000 died in police operations while the
rest were killed by unidentified assailants, or what the police calls
“deaths under investigations” that appear to be death squad killings.
A number of children were among those killed.
President Duterte campaigned
on a platform of reducing crime and illegal drugs. But instead of
fixing the country’s long-standing rule-of-law problems, he and his
top officials incite and encourage law enforcers to commit even more
killings and even more abuses. While some of these killings are being
investigated both by the police and the Commission on Human Rights, no
one has been charged, signaling what appears to be complete impunity.
The Duterte administration
has likewise taken steps to erode human rights and civil liberties.
The president’s allies have filed bills in Congress to reinstate the
death penalty and to lower the age of criminal liability to nine years
old. He has floated the idea of suspending the privilege of the writ
of habeas corpus and imposing martial law. He has likewise approved
the burial of the dictator Marcos in the Libingan ng mga Bayani
despite opposition from those who suffered under the dictatorship.
President Duterte has been
trying to discredit institutions that can check official abuse of
power, such as the Philippine Commission on Human Rights and
non-government groups critical of the killings. He has attacked the
United Nations and the Human Rights Council as well as western
countries whose representatives have expressed concern about the human
rights situation in the Philippines. He also wants the Philippines to
get out of the International Criminal Court (ICC) after other
countries with despotic regimes have done so.
administrations that have denied complicity in past extrajudicial
killings, the Duterte government encourages these abuses and even
promises protection to the perpetrators, taking an already egregious
human rights situation to a whole new and more dangerous level. It is
time for these killings to stop and for the killers to be brought to
We organized ourselves into
the Network Against Killings in the Philippines (NAKPhilippines)
because civil society needs to take a firmer, stronger and principled
stand against extrajudicial killings and the continued erosion of
universal human rights in the Philippines. Like the human rights
advocates that have campaigned against death squad killings since
1999, we are outraged by these violations and are committed to do what
we can to stop the killings, demand accountability from government,
assert human rights for all, and protect human rights defenders.
NAKPhilippines is an
independent, non-partisan and broad alliance of various individuals,
NGOs and civil society organizations concerned about human rights,
civil liberties and rule of law in the Philippines.
Today, on the 7th
anniversary of the Ampatuan Massacre, we hold a National Day of Prayer
and Solidarity for Victims of Extrajudicial Killings and Their
Families at the Shrine of the Mother of Perpetual Help, Redemptorist
Church, Baclaran, in Manila. This is our way of acknowledging the pain
and anguish of the families of thousands of victims of Duterte’s war
on drugs and to press for our continuing demand for accountability and