Chel Diokno: Duterte worse than Arroyo in human rights violations

Lian Buan
Chel Diokno: Duterte worse than Arroyo in human rights violations
‘Never in our history have we seen this kind of killing,’ says Otso Diretso candidate Chel Diokno, who also has a petition before the Supreme Court seeking to declare the bloody campaign against illegal drugs unconstitutional

BATANGAS, Philippines – Opposition senatorial candidate Chel Diokno said that the Duterte administration is worse than the Arroyo administration when it comes to human rights violations.

“Never in our history have we seen this kind of killing,” Diokno, a human rights lawyer, said on the sidelines of his proclamation rally in Taal, Batangas, on Tuesday, February 19.

Diokno said that while the Duterte and Arroyo administrations have “qualitative similarities” in terms of human rights violations, “mas grabe ang pamahalaan ngayon (this government is worse.)”

Kung bibilangin natin ang numbers ay mas grabe ang pamahalaan ngayon dahil ang Korte Suprema ang mismo ang kanilang nalagay sa ating kaso, ang count ay 20,322 hanggang last year lang ‘yun, so hindi pa diyan kasama ang mga napatay ngayon. Kung isasama pa natin ‘yun eh easily 25,000. Ang estimate pa nga ng iba ay 30,000,” Diokno said.

(If we were to look at the numbers, this government is worse, because the Supreme Court itself has put in our case, the death count is 20,322 and that’s only for last year– that still doesn’t include those who died up to this point. So if we include them, that’s easily 25,000. Others estimate 30,000.)

Deaths from the drug war 

The government counts over 30,000 homicide cases under investigation since Duterte assumed office on June 30, 2016. Human rights groups believe that over 20,000 of these cases are the result of the so-called “drug war.”

Diokno’s Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG) is one of the two petitioners asking the Supreme Court to declare the drug war unconstitutional.

At this point, the High Court is going through police documentation of all the 20,322 deaths, documents that the Court had difficulty getting from the government. After a round of pleadings, the justices compelled Solicitor General Jose Calida to turn them over.

In an initial resolution, the SC said the 20,322 deaths may mean the deaths are state-sponsored. The High Court said that at the very least, the government must prove that it has documented all killings, especially those in legitimate police drug operations.

Of the 20,000 to 30,000 cases, the government recognized that 5,000 are results of police operations. The government is not investigating the 5,000 due to presumption of regularity.

Excluding numbers from Manila, Quezon City, and Taguig prosecutors, all in all, the government has prosecuted only 76 cases, meaning it has let thousands go unsolved.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) is examining whether these killings amount to crimes against humanity. –

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Lian Buan

Lian Buan covers justice and corruption for Rappler. She is interested in decisions, pleadings, audits, contracts, and other documents that establish a trail. If you have leads, email or tweet @lianbuan.