Ateneo faculty, artists, writers condemn Kian delos Santos killing
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Hours before an indignation rally on Edsa on Monday, August 21, faculty members of a Jesuit-run university, as well as artists and writers, demanded an end to the government-sponsored killings related to the anti-drugs campaign.
Their separate statements came after the nationwide outrage sparked by the death Kian delos Santos, the 17-year-old boy who was shot by Caloocan cops for allegedly fighting back during an anti-drug raid last week. (READ: Our son, Kian: A good, sweet boy)
Delos Santos was among the 81 dead from the latest waves of "one-time, big-time" operations by the police in Metro Manila and surrounding areas.
The Ateneo de Manila University faculty condemned in the "strongest possible terms" the death of the 17-year-old and the spate of the extrajudicial killings.
"We denounce the state terror that President Duterte is unleashing upon the citizenry. The culture of violent impunity that he instigates is a threat to the fundamental virtues that bind us as a nation," they said in a statement on Monday.
As of July, one year into President Rodrigo Duterte's term, 3,451 suspected drug personalities have been killed in legitimate operations, based on police data. The Commision on Human Rights believes, however, that more people have died from the drug war.
"One shudders to think of the current numbers of the dead summarily executed without access to their legal rights," the faculty members said. (READ: IN NUMBERS: The Philippines' 'war on drugs')
They Ateneo faculty called on the public to demand an end to summary executions: "We therefore demand an end to the carnage that has created a climate of fear, lawlessness, and abuse. We call on people of conscience to join us in demanding the restoration of the rule of law and the cessation of the arbitrary use of brute force against the most vulnerable sectors of our community: the poor, the ill, and the innocent."
They added: "There is no place for terror in a just society. Stop the killings now!"
On Sunday, August 20, workers from the cultural industry also denounced the normalization of the killings during police operations.
"We denounce the normalization of these killings, the pardon of rogue police and military men, and the abetting of authorities’ abuse against citizens," they said in a statement. (READ: Countries call for end to killings in PH drug war)
"Where Filipinos are dying on mere suspicion of involvement in drugs, where deaths are justified by victims’ inclusion in questionable drug lists, where a few grams of drugs on a person has been used to justify murder, government has fallen silent on the P6.4-billion worth of smuggled drugs from China, for which there have been no suspects charged. The President himself now says there is no controlling the entry of drugs into the country. We say: then there is no reason to believe in, or stand for, this war the President is waging," they said.
The signatories, which include writer Ricky Lee and filmmaker Lav Diaz, called on the government to stop the killings.
"We call for an end to President Duterte’s war on drugs. We demand that those responsible for the thousands dead in official police operations and the thousands more in summary executions be brought to justice," they wrote.
On Monday, the Unyon ng mga Manunulat sa Pilipinas (Writers Union of the Philippines) strongly condemned the "culture of violence and impunity brought about by the government's merciless war on drugs," saying the campaign "led to unnecessary bloodshed and the oppression of the powerless."
"We call on the government for an impartial investigation on extra judicial killings, as well as concerted institutional effort at curbing these violent acts which impress upon the public as sponsored by the state," the group said in a statement.
They also called on Filipinos to remain vigilant, to uphold the rule of law, and to speak out against violation of human rights.
Even before the start of the campaign period for the May 2016 polls, Duterte had already promised to order the killing of criminals.
In May, shortly after winning the elections, Duterte said he would give security forces "shoot to kill" orders against those who resist arrest. (READ: 'Nanlaban sila': Duterte's war on drugs) – Aika Rey/Rappler.com