calls on senate to probe AI report
By Office of Senator Chiz
February 7, 2017
PASAY CITY – Sen.
Chiz Escudero has filed a resolution pushing the Senate to investigate
the allegations of Amnesty International that killings related to the
government's war against illegal drugs were extrajudicial executions
carried out by gunmen hired by police officers to kill and plant
Escudero, former chair of
the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights, filed Senate
Resolution No. 282 directing the appropriate Senate committee to probe
into the report by AI, saying it must not be simply set aside as it
raises serious allegations that can undermine the Philippines’
reputation as a democratic country that fundamentally recognizes and
upholds human rights.
“I found AI to be radical at
times if you look into our history. The filing of resolution is really
not meant to give AI a platform. It is to allow AI to prove their
allegations because by that report, they besmirched the reputation of
He also added that the
legislative inquiry would be an avenue to verify the accuracy of the
report and give the people and institutions involved an opportunity to
respond to the findings.
“It is not only a matter of
necessity but public accountability as well that AI substantiate and
present its evidence before the Senate for public scrutiny to confirm
the report’s veracity and to hold, or otherwise clear, the Philippine
government of any responsibility,” Escudero said.
“Sure or not, they already
besmirched the name of our country by saying that these violations are
committed by the state itself,” the senator said.
According to the report
released by the international human rights watchdog, “the police paid
killers on their payroll, and unknown armed individuals have slain
more than a thousand people a month under the guise of a national
campaign to eradicate drugs,” adding that the administration’s war on
drugs is actually a “war against the poor.”
AI also alleged the use of a
mere “watch list,” which contents are based on hearsay, community
rumor or rivalry, with little verification.
In their report, AI also
detailed the story of a police officer with the rank of Senior Police
Officer 1, who served in the PNP for a decade and is currently part of
the anti-illegal drugs unit in Metro Manila. According to the source,
the police paid per “encounter” – the term used to mask the
extrajudicial killings as legitimate operations conducted by the
authorities. The police officer claimed that the amount paid by the
police ranges from P8,000 to P15,000 per person, per encounter.
“The logic it presents is
that this money is coming from the government, that is a serious
allegation that would immediately connect the state to what is
happening outside the EJKs (extrajudicial killings) and that would
mean it is already state sponsored. That is a very serious allegation
and AI cannot simply make that allegation and say ‘sorry all of our
sources are confidential, we cannot reveal it.’”
Since the Duterte
administration came into power, the Philippine National Police has
conducted almost 41,000 drug-related operations from July 2016 to
According to AI, more than
7,000 people have been killed in the drug war, with the police
directly killing at least 2,500 alleged drug offenders.
cautioned the administration against giving too much power to the
police force and treating erring officers with kid gloves.
“The worst fear of many
people already happened. It went into the head of the policemen. Not
all, but some,” he said. “We want to see the PNP leadership pursue
with the same vigor as drug suspects the scalawags, misfits and erring