MANILA, Philippines – Five female legislators from the Liberal Party (LP) urged the House of Representatives to investigate the spike of apparent summary executions as the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte wages a war on crime and illegal drugs.
On Tuesday, August 16, the following LP lawmakers issued a statement:
The LP is currently under a coalition agreement with Duterte's Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban).
While the female legislators support the administration's efforts to address the country's drug problem, they believe that the "rule of law must not be sacrificed in favor of expediency." (READ: Robredo: Speak out, end 'culture of hatred’)
"We, the women of the Liberal Party, now add our voices to the clamor against these summary executions. The killings have mostly targeted the impoverished, effectively dehumanizing the poor and marginalized in the process," said the lawmakers.
"We oppose in no uncertain terms such grave abuses against our most fundamental rights. We believe that these rights – to a fair trial, to due process, and ultimately, to justice – belong appropriately to all Filipinos, whether they be victims or suspects of a crime, whether they be rich or poor," they added. (READ: War on drugs: While you were sleeping)
As women, Abad, Sato, Bag-ao, Limkaichong, and Roman added that their position is "unique."
They said that many of them are mothers who work hard to raise their children in an environment that upholds key values, like the "profound respect" for the sanctity of life. (READ: 'Enough')
"The new wave of vigilante killings threatens these values necessary to our humanity, especially as Filipinos. We cannot permit this. Our children must not grow up in a society where violence is recklessly condoned," they said.
"We raise the question, too, on the safety of our families in a climate of increasing impunity. How can we ensure the security of our loved ones when innocent Filipinos are being slain? How can we truthfully say that we feel safe when extrajudicial killings in this country are now at an average of 10 per day?" the lawmakers added.
With Duterte's backing, the Philippine National Police has intensified its campaign against illegal drugs.
As of August 15, 612 alleged drug personalities were killed in encounters with the police while 8,623 have been arrested across the Philippines.
Independent groups have tallied more than 100 dead in apparent extrajudicial killings around the country as well.
In his first State of the Nation Address, Duterte vowed to uphold human rights as he continues to receive local and international criticism that he is "condoning" summary executions. (READ: SONA 2016: CHR welcomes Duterte vow to 'protect human rights')