De Lima: Stop Duterte’s Killing Machine

Senator Leila M. de Lima has renewed her call to the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) and the International Criminal Court (ICC) to stop the “Duterte killing machine” by initiating an independent probe on the rampant killings in the country.

While international human rights groups are calling Duterte’s “war on drugs” as “large-scale murdering enterprise”, the lady Senator from Bicol labeled it as a monstrous “killing machine” in the guise of the government’s war against drugs that has claimed thousands of lives.

“It is a monstrous ‘killing machine’ whose continued rampage with almost no accountability within the national system requires the focus and concrete actions from such global instruments of justice as the UNHRC and the ICC,” De Lima said in her recent Dispatch No. 552 from Camp Crame.

De Lima reiterated her call following the release of Amnesty International’s report, entitled “They Just Kill Us”, showing that the killings have breached the “threshold of crimes against humanity” and have spread to other areas, such as Bulacan, which was recently tagged in the report as the “bloodiest killing field” in the Philippines today.

The global rights group also cited the lack of meaningful accountability for the thousands of EJKs, with only the case of Kian de los Santos producing a conviction of police officers involved in the murder of the 17-year-old from Caloocan City.

De Lima also lamented the government’s lack of interest to seriously investigate the matter which makes it even more imperative and paramount for the UNHRC and ICC to start their separate probe to ensure that the perpetrators and the masterminds behind the atrocities will be prosecuted and punished.

“A UNHRC-led commission of inquiry has become paramount, both as a measure of justice to the Filipino people whose access to local legal remedies is practically nil, and as tool of necessity to prove that resort to UN mechanisms and processes remains viable for our people, given the Philippines’ pullout from the ICC,” said De Lima, a former justice secretary.

De Lima further noted that the government’s lack of initiative to look into the thousands of EJKs is a clear violation of its duty under international law to investigate EJKs under the state’s obligation to respect and guarantee human rights under the International Covenant onCivil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

It may be recalled that this was not the first time that De Lima, the staunchest critic of the Duterte regime’s failed war on drugs, has called on the UN and the ICC to investigate the rampant extrajudicial killings in the country.

In her previous messages for International Human Rights Day in 2017 and 2018, De Lima has requested the UNHRC to urgently dispatch to the Philippines a team of independent and international investigators to probe the killings.

This 18th Congress, De Lima is set to file a measure to strengthen accountability for the thousands of casualties in the government’s sham drug war that has failed to address the problem and has led to the killings of thousands of mostly poor Filipinos.

A known defender of human rights and social justice, De Lima is in unjust and illegal detention for the trumped-up charges fabricated by the administration using perjured and coerced witnesses.

Photo Credit: facebook.com/leiladelimaofficial