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The Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights has belied the existence of the infamous Davao Death Squad and allegations of State-sponsored extrajudicial killings.
These are contained in the 100-page Committee Report No. 18 that has been routed for signature among members of the committee.
Eleven senators, including chairman Sen. Richard J. Gordon and vice chairperson Sen. Panfilo “Ping” M. Lacson, signed the report. The others are Gregorio Honasan II, Loren Legarda, Juan Miguel Zubiri, Ma. Lourdes “Nancy” Binay, Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao, Vicente Sotto III, Franklin Drilon, Alan Peter Cayetano, and Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan.
The committee also advised President Duterte to be careful in issuing statements that can be misconstrued by the public as state policy.
Given the President’s propensity to be very vocal in defending policemen, the committee also urged the President “to be mindful of his role as head of State and be careful with his words, avoid inappropriate statements lest they be construed as policies of the State.”
“There may also be accusations of tolerance hurled against him because of the overwhelming support he gives to the police, manifested by his colorful language against drug pushers, may be perceived as a condonation of the violations of human rights and due process that the police are committing, in the guise of putting an end to the drug menace,” it also said.
The Gordon report also said a word of caution to the President is warranted since even if there is no doubt that he has the country’s best interests at heart when he waged his war against illegal drugs and criminality, “his ways and methodology may not be readily understood and acceptable to all.”
“He, thus, should seek to epitomize a man of the law, and be an exemplary role model. All Presidents must be role models in word and in deed. Leaders raise the values and performance of a people,” it said. (Hannah L. Torregoza)