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De Lima seeks probe

True to her word, neophyte Sen. Leila de Lima formally filed a Senate resolution seeking an investigation into the rampant extrajudicial killings and summary executions of suspected criminals.

In filing Senate Resolution No. 9, the former Department of Justice Secretary said it is necessary for Congress to probe the alarming incidence and pattern of summary killings carried out by law enforcement agencies on suspected criminals, particularly those linked to illegal drugs, which, if left unabated and unchecked, “can escalate into a crime against humanity under international law.”

De Lima, also a former Commission on Human Rights chairperson, said an investigation would help lawmakers strengthen the mechanisms in ensuring the most fundamental and basic of human rights, which is the right to life.

“Extrajudicial killings by vigilantes were being justified in the mass media on the ground of expediency coupled with the lowest regard for the so-called ‘dregs of society’ and ‘scums of the earth’,” De Lima said in the explanatory note of the resolution. “As for the summary killings done in the performance of police work, authorities offer a common explanation whereby the executions were supposedly conducted in pursuit of legitimate law enforcement,” she added.

De Lima said the Senate urgently needs to look into the “factual and legal issues related to these killings” and to check the possible abuses of the exercise of authority by the concerned law enforcement units.”

She also said the Senate probe seeks to reinforce legal administration to address the phenomenon of vigilantism and summary killings and to enhance the legal mechanisms of accountability of state and non-state actors.
(Hannah L. Torregoza)