FACT CHECK: Gordon on UN silence, Chicago and PH killings
MANILA, Philippines – Senator Richard Gordon on Monday, October 3, considered it “unfair” that the Philippines is now under intense scrutiny from the international community due to the rising number of killings here.
At the Senate hearing on extrajudicial killings on Monday, October 3, the chairperson of the Senate committee on justice compared the country’s latest death figures with the number of killings in Chicago, Illinois.
Highlighting Chicago's murder cases, Gordon asked why the United Nations (UN) has not made an issue out of it.
"Iyong sinasabi natin na 545 murder cases sa Chicago, isang siyudad sa United States of America, bakit hindi ginugulpi ng UN 'yan? Bakit hindi ginugulpi na ang dami namamatay?" he asked. "Presidente pa ng America nandito, presidente ng Pilipinas na taga-Davao, bakit ginugulpi naman ang buong Pilipinas? Na 3,000 when you compare the statistics. One nation to one city, mukhang tagilid ano?" (WATCH: October 3 Senate hearing on extrajudicial killings)
(With 545 murder cases in Chicago, one city in the United States of America, why isn't the UN hitting it given that there are many people getting killed? The President of America [is from Chicago], the President of the Philippines [is] from Davao, why is the Philippines being hit? When you compare the statistics, one nation to one city, it's unfair.)
If the senator meant that the UN has been silent on police killings in the US, or Chicago for that matter, he got it wrong. The UN has been keenly watching police killings in a number of US states, not just Chicago.
The UN recently released a report describing the police killings in Chicago and other US states as "reminiscent of lynching," and urging the US government to protect its residents. The world body has also repeatedly condemned gun violence in the US.
In a scathing report that was set to be debated at the UN Human Rights Council in New York on Monday, the UN Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent condemned the "impunity for State violence" in the US, which has"resulted in the current human rights crisis and must be addressed as a matter of urgency."
The UN group recommended that the US create a reliable national system to track killings and excessive use of force by law enforcement officials, and end racial profiling, according to a Reuters report.
On Gordon's statements on Monday, the killings related to drugs in the Philippines are also, similar to the killings in the US, not nationwide.
The victims are mostly found in the National Capital Region (NCR), as well as the provinces of Cebu, Bulacan, Quezon, Cavite, Pangasinan, and a few others. (READ: Epicenters of fatalities in the war on drugs)
In the Philippines, from July 1 to October 3, 2016 alone (or 3 months), data from the Philippine National Police (PNP) showed that 1,375 drug personalities have been killed in legitimate operations. (IN NUMBERS: The Philippines' 'war on drugs')
This is aside from 2,233 victims of extrajudicial or vigilante-style killings. The PNP, however, clarified that these deaths "cannot all be attributed to the 'war on drugs' unless it is determined as such through proper investigation."
Senator Gordon however got it right when he said there is a significant rise in the number of killings in Chicago, which has a population of more than 2 million, based on tallies made by different government agencies and organizations.
Data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) show that 478 homicides were recorded in 2015. This figure is higher than 411 recorded in 2014.
The number of homicides in 2016 has already exceeded last year's figure. From January to October 1, 2016, 545 homicides have been recorded in Chicago alone.
But here's the point: the killings were not just carried out by members of the police force or state authorities. According to the Independent Police Review Authority, there were only 6 deaths reportedly caused by police officers from January to October 2016.
The tension and violence in Chicago, according to several news reports, are rooted in "deep distrust" between residents and the police force due to racial profiling and the cops' use of excessive amount of force, among others. – Rappler.com