De Lima to Senate: Probe irregularities in Gordon report
MANILA, Philippines – Senator Leila de Lima on Tuesday, December 13, filed her own dissenting opinion on extrajudicial killings and urged the committee on rules to investigate “irregularities” involving the report prepared and filed by Senator Richard Gordon.
“This representation respectfully recommends to the Senate Committee on Rules to investigate the irregularities attending the preparation, routing, and filing of the Gordon report and study the propriety of enforcing the standing Senate rules on all the committee,” De Lima said in her 151-page report with 250 pages of annexes.
Gordon, chairman of the committee on justice, released a panel report clearing Duterte of liability for extrajudicial killings in the country linked to his war on drugs. (READ: Senate ends probe: Neither Duterte nor state sponsored killings)
But for De Lima, the fiercest critic of Duterte, this far from the truth. For her, the President and his allied policemen are implementing on a nationwide scale the same “deadly action plan and program” that he started in Davao City when he was a mayor.
“Oplan TokHang, 'nanlaban,' and vigilantes are all part of the same deadly action plan and program hatched in Davao City several years ago, and that is now being implemented on a nationwide scale by the same Mayor and police officials of Davao City who are now President of the country and Chiefs of Police of the nation’s major cities,” De Lima said.
She also denounced Gordon for supposedly using the committee report to “libel, attack, and pillory” her and another Duterte critic, Senator Antonio Trillanes IV. (READ: Senators face off at probe into killings: 'Trash talk, out of order')
Gordon had called the two senators "unparliamentary" for their acts during the hearings and recommended that they be held "liable."
“Much has been seen and said in the media about the high drama of Senator Gordon’s wounded pride and indignant defense of his honor. It does not deserve any further treatment in this dissenting report other than as a personal manifesto of similar indignation… against a railroading chairperson.”
In her dissenting opinion, De Lima also asked Duterte to form an independent commission – including former Supreme Court justices – to probe the summary executions under his administration.
“We are hereby calling for an independent probe…to be conducted by an independent commission composed of men and women of proven integrity, probity, and independence, including former Supreme Court Justices,” she said.
De Lima said the commission should conduct deeper investigations into problem of illegal drugs and not just rely on the President’s so-called drug list, which “shames and vilifies personalities and whole families.”
“In a sense, the commission will serve as a truth commission on the drug problem for the country and confront the data and statistics being plucked by the administration out of thin air – without any official sources whatsoever,” the senator said.
De Lima also proposed the following:
- Strengthen the investigative and forensic capacities of law enforcement agencies to align with internationally accepted standards of law enforcement
- For the Department of Justice (DOJ), Philippine National Police, National Bureau of Investigation and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Authority to follow International Drug Control Conventions; and to ensure the conduct of the visit, and effective and unhampered discharge of the duties of the United Nations Special Rapporteurs on Summary Executions
- Enact into law Senate Bill 1197 or the Anti-Extrajudicial Killings bill, which seeks to address institutional barriers to efficient, independent and impartial investigation of EJKs among concerned government agencies
- Enact into law the Charter of the Commission on Human Rights, logged as Senate Bill 1230, granting it its status as the country’s premier human rights body with powers to respond in real-time to human rights violations against Filipinos here and abroad
- Create a separate, dedicated office within DOJ or Public Attorney Office that would provide legal assistance and representation to law enforcement officials facing charges
- To establish a program in the Department of Social Welfare and Development to assist the surviving families of those killed during police operations
- To investigate not only the possible criminal acts of policemen but also the liabilities of their superiors under the Philippine Act on Crimes Against International Humanitarian Law, Genocide, and Other Crimes Against Humanity – Rappler.com
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