MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Fellow senators called out their new colleague, Senator Ronald dela Rosa, over his controversial comment about the death of a 3-year-old girl during a police operation that targeted her father.
Senator Panfilo Lacson, a former police chief like Dela Rosa, said the death of 3-year-old Myca Ulpina during a buy-bust operation should be “taken seriously” and not brushed aside with a comment that “shit happens.”
“One innocent life lost is one life too many. It is not every day that an innocent civilian, much less a 3-year-old child is caught in the crossfire between law enforcement and criminal elements,” Lacson said in a statement.
“Incidents like this should be taken seriously so that corrective measures will be put in place immediately and those responsible must at least be investigated to determine possible lapses or lack of discretion. Nonchalance has no place in this situation,” he added.
Dela Rosa made the controversial statement during the weekly press conference of Senate media on Thursday, July 4, where he was asked to comment on the death of Ulpina. (LIST: Minors, college students killed in Duterte’s drug war)
Dela Rosa dismissed the girl as collateral damage in the government’s war on drugs, and said that in an “imperfect world…shit happens” – a comment that drew flak from various groups, including the Commission on Human Rights.
Reacting to Dela Rosa, Senator Risa Hontiveros said on Twitter on Friday: “Let’s not trivialize innocent lives lost. Shit happens? Then it’s time to call a plumber and flush this bloody and abusive drug war down the toilet.”
Senator Francis Pangilinan said dismissing the incident as just part of reality in an “imperfect world,” as Dela Rosa had put it, just worsened the situation.
“Kapag ganito ang kalakaran na tinatanggap na lang natin bilang realidad sa halip na kondenahin at panagutin ang mga nagkasala, mauulit ng mauulit ang patayan pati ng mga bata. Hindi ito tama at hindi ako sang-ayon sa posisyon na ganun lang talaga ang realidad,” he said.
(If you just accept this as reality, instead of condemning it and holding accountable those at fault, children would be killed over and over again. This is not right and I disagree with the position that that’s just reality.)
Pangilinan added: “’Pag poot ang tinanim, kamatayan ang aanihin (If you sow hatred, you will reap death). This administration’s legacy stands on the blood of killed children and parents. Stop the killings. Enforce the Supreme Court decision to release the documents on the drug war, including the report on the more than 23,000 ‘deaths under investigation.’”
Detained Senator Leila de Lima quipped that following Dela Rosa’s statement, “he might as well introduce legislation lowering the age of criminal responsibility to ‘at birth’ because, anyway, ‘shit happens.'”
“Shit does happen, but it happens more often because we have a President and public officials who are more gangsters than law enforcers,” De Lima said in a statement.
Dela Rosa is poised to chair the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs in the 18th Congress. – Rappler.com