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Solon insists House probe on drug killings

Ifugao Rep. Teddy “Brawner” Baguilat insisted yesterday that the House of Representatives should conduct an investigation on the spate of supposed summary execution of suspected drug criminals.

Baguilat said the chamber should step in, anticipating that the extrajudicial killings will continue as the barangay elections near.

“It’s the moral obligation of the House of Representatives in pursuit of its oversight function to conduct an inquiry especially now that extrajudicial killings is becoming a crime epidemic and is not expected to decrease in the coming months,” he said.

“We want to ask if there is a serious probe ongoing to go after these killers. With the barangay elections approaching, violence might escalate and summary executions of opposing candidates might occur under the name of the drug war,” Baguilat said.

House Speaker Pantaleon “Bebot” Alvarez stood firm that the House will not dip its fingers into the rising incidence of extrajudicial and summary killings in the country, explaining that Congress has no prosecutorial powers.

On the other hand, the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights, chaired by Sen. Leila M. de Lima, and Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs, chaired by Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson, will jointly conduct an investigation.

“In connection to the drug war, Congress should ask how the list of drug suspects is crafted because it seems there’s no due process followed. And those included in the list are endangered because of extrajudicial killings and police operations that seem to count dead suspects as a measure of success,” Baguilat said.

Former Speaker Quezon City Rep. Feliciano Belmonte Jr. expressed support to Baguilat’s call, but he said the House should leave up the probe to the Senate to avoid repetition.

“I’m in favor of the House hearing, but the Senate seems more advanced, let them do it. I am against repetitive hearings,” Belmonte said.

Under House Resolution No. 61, Baguilat strongly urged his colleagues to stop the killings or else anarchy and disintegration prevail as people will take the law into their own hands. (Charissa M. Luci)