By: Elena Grace Flores
Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa is very much willing and will cooperate in the senate hearing over extra judicial complaints saying:
“Yes, we will face it,” Dela Rosa said on Thursday in an interview with reporters in General Santos City. “It’s part of our job, if we will be required to attend.”
Sen. Leila de Lima, the committee chair, assured him respect as she also invites PNP officials, Commission on Human Rights officials and witnesses to shed light on losing more than 700 lives abruptly. She said; “We will accord them due respect,” despite being a critic of Duterte’s campaign against illegal drugs.
“We have to determine the facts. We have to know the truth. We have to find out exactly why this is happening, find out how many have been killed in the course of this intensified drive against drugs,” De Lima said, adding that both deaths in police operations and vigilante-linked incidents would be investigated.
The inquiry aims to draw up legislation that would institutionalize respect for human rights in the conduct of police operations, added De Lima.
Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, however was resisting the move despite not belonging to the committee. He insisted to attend the closed-door meeting on and criticized the timing of the hearing.
“There are so many things that the police need, the judges and prosecution services need toward a successful antidrug campaign. Why should we do the investigating first?” said Cayetano. It is understandable that the President’s running mate will be worried that the momentum of the campaign will slow down while conducting hearings but he should understand that our constitution is designed with 3 equal branches of government to prevent abuse of power.
Sen. Panfilo Lacson, chair of the committee on public order and dangerous drugs, said: “I am attending the hearings if only to focus on the summary killings perpetrated by nonpolice personnel. But I have misgivings about indicting the police organization, that they are involved in summary killings. But let’s find out, let’s see how things develop during the hearing;” he vehemently said.
1.3 million drug users
The public, he added, should be thankful to the President for presenting the country’s drug problem, which, according to the Dangerous Drugs Board, had affected 99 percent of barangays in Metropolitan Manila and 27 percent of the nation’s 42,000 barangays. The board said 1.3 million Filipinos were using illegal drugs.
Abella defended what critics called the President’s “name and shame” campaign when he released on Sunday the names of 159 officials, judges, soldiers and policemen allegedly involved in the narcotics trade.
“I think we should appreciate the fact that he is calling our attention to it,” he said. “It’s not, by the way, (making) accusations. It’s an ample warning that your name is on the list and for you to clear (your name).”
In a statement yesterday, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines urged the administration to submit to the Supreme Court complaints against judges allegedly involved in illegal drugs.
“The President, as head of the executive department, may have been impelled by urgent considerations in his public censure of government officials under him, but on the other hand, judges perform unique functions so essential in the dispensation of justice that require insulation or protection from all types of unwarranted pressure,” said IBP president Rosario Setias-Reyes.