Senate asked to probe 'gruesome' killings of teenagers
MANILA, Philippines – A senator has called for a Senate investigation into the spate of killings of minors resulting from the ongoing bloody drug war.
Senator Grace Poe on Thursday, September 8, filed Senate Resolution 498 urging the committee on public order and dangerous drugs to probe the issue. The objective, she said, is to re-evaluate the Philippine National Police’s rules of engagement in arresting children.
The Senate committee has already started its probe into the death of Delos Santos. During the 2nd hearing on Tuesday, the death of Arnaiz was also discussed. Poe is the vice chair of the committee while Senator Panfilo Lacson is the chair.
“Before we plummet into chaos and utter savagery, the recent brutal deaths of Kian, Carl, and Reynaldo, and of the other youth victims who came before them, should serve as a wake-up call and a reminder that we are a country of laws and morals,” Poe said in the resolution.
“Given these increasingly gruesome deaths,we must ensure that the operational protocols of law enforcement agencies strictly adhere to the enshrined rights in our laws and international conventions,” Poe said.
Citing data from the Children’s Legal Rights and Development Center, Poe said there have been 54 minors killed in either legitimate police operations or vigilante-style killings since July 2016 or the start of the Duterte administration.
The resolution also aimed to create “efficient avenues” for grieving families of the victims.
“The plea for justice of the victims’ relatives should not fall on deaf ears; the senseless killing of innocent Filipinos, especially minors, under the cloak of addressing the country’s drug problem should be addressed by relevant legislation, policy recommendations, and impartial investigation,” she said.
She also proposed that the law enforcement agencies adopt best practices, including protection of CCTV footage and witnesses, and mandatory wearing of body cameras for police operations – a proposal earlier sought by some senators. – Rappler.com