Professors, scholars demand 'chain of killings must stop'
MANILA, Philippines – Various professors and scholars from different academic institutions in the Philippines released a statement on Wednesday, September 27, calling for a stop to the spate of killings in the country. (READ: PNP on anti drug war ops: Thousands of deaths, only 10 inquest reports)
The University of the Philippines (UP) College of Law initially published the said statement on its Facebook page in which it stated its conviction that "all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights."
"These rights cannot be the subject of political bargaining. Their validity and application do not depend on the whims of those in power or the flaws and vices of the victims," it read.
A number of the signatories has since gone beyond the UP Law Faculty to include professors Florin Hilbay, Jay Batongbacal, Dante Gatmaytan, Solita Monsod and more.
The statement opened by saying that they are non-partisan, non-political, and independent.
"At least 50 of these victims are young, some aged 4, 5 and 6, apparently shot by police when they were caught in the crossfire." (LIST: Minors, college students killed in Duterte's drug war)
Two well-known cases of these deaths are 17-year-old Kian delos Santos and UP student Carl Arnaiz's.
Kian delos Santos was gunned down by Caloocan police on August 16. According to the Philippine Attorney's Office (PAO) autopsy, Delos Santos was shot 3 times. (READ: 'Nakaluhod tapos nasubsob': How Kian was shot, according to PAO)
The 19-year-old Arnaiz on the other hand, was handcuffed and beaten up before he was killed. (READ: Carl Arnaiz handcuffed, beaten up, killed- PAO autopsy)
Creation of a truth commission
The group of scholars wanted the formation of an "independent and credible truth commission."
This proposed commission will subpoena witnesses, grant testimonal immunities and "encourage key witnesses to step forward and accredit persons or private institutions to give sanctuary to victims, their families, and witnesses."
The signatories also called on President Rodrigo Duterte to investigate or prosecute these crimes.
"Finally, we call the President to desist from making statements that may be construed as encouraging the government’s armed personnel to shoot or kill, whether with the promise of pardon or immunity, the prospect of reinstatement or promotion, or outright cash awards."
Lastly, they called for an end to impunity and for justice to prevail.
"For the rest of us who are blessed enough so far to have been spared, exposing that truth and dispensing the justice it demands is indispensable to our healing as a nation." – Rappler.com