Sen. Leila M. de Lima has filed a “dissenting report” as the true findings of the Senate investigation into the unabated spate of extrajudicial killings (EJKs) and summary executions on the government’s all-out campaign against illegal drugs.
De Lima filed her Dissenting Report to the Joint Committee Report No. 18 of the Senate Committees on Justice and Human Rights and on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs chaired by Senators Richard Gordon and Panfilo Lacson, respectively.
“This Dissenting Report aims to provide an alternative analysis of the facts presented and the conclusions deduced therefrom based on applicable laws and rules,” she said in her 151-page report, with 250 pages of annexes.
“The objective is to present to the Senate and, ultimately, to the Filipino people what this Representation honestly believes to be the just conclusions and proper courses on the issues at hand” she added.
Last July 13, De Lima filed Senate Resolution No. 9 which seeks to initiate an investigation into the phenomenon of extrajudicial and summary killings carried out in the Duterte administration’s all-out war against illegal drugs in the country.
De Lima said the Senate probe failed on several grounds, notably on its refusal to hear the testimonies of EJK witnesses of the Commission on Human Rights, its premature termination, its failure to weigh in the testimonies of Senate witness Edgar Matobato, among others.
“Due to the premature and abrupt termination of the Senate investigation, no comprehensive, in-depth gathering, and assessment of the evidence was done by the Committee. Instead, what came out was a virtual whitewash designed to absolve the national leadership as led by the President,” she said.
“The unreasonable exclusion of important witnesses had precluded a thorough and intensive treatment of the subject of EJKs,” she added, mindful that Matobato’s testimony laid the foundation into explaining the national phenomenon of state-sponsored EJKs.
According to the Senator from Bicol, the Gordon Committee wasted its golden opportunity when its ultimate goal was to exonerate the President and the administration from any involvement in the bloody drug war that claimed thousands of lives.
De Lima, a former justice secretary, also lashed out at the Gordon Report for taking an issue on her alleged unparliamentary behavior and that of her colleague, Sen. Antonio Trillanes, during the public hearing.
“The Gordon Report was not about finding the source behind all this public bloodbath drowning the poor and shirtless in this country, but about libeling, attacking, and pillorying the two Senators who dared come out with guns blazing against the President as the inducer of these killings,” she said.
De Lima submitted 10-point recommendations to the Senate, to wit:
1. To look into the alleged irregularities in the preparation, routing and filing of the Gordon Report and study the propriety of enforcing the standing Senate rules on all the committees;
2. To strengthen the investigative and forensic capacities of our law enforcement agencies to align with internationally accepted standards of law enforcement;
3. To urge the Department of Justice (DOJ), Philippine National Police, National Bureau of Investigation and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Authority to follow the International Drug Control Conventions;
4. To ensure the conduct of the visit, and effective and unhampered discharge of the duties of the United Nations Special Rapporteurs on Summary Executions;
5. To enact into law of Senate Bill 1197, also known as the Anti-Extrajudicial Killings, which seeks to address institutional barriers to efficient, independent and impartial investigation of EJKs among concerned government agencies;
6. To enact into law the Charter of the Commission on Human Rights, logged as Senate Bill 1230, granting it its status as the country’s premier human rights body with powers to respond in real-time to human rights violations against Filipinos here and abroad;
7. To create a separate, dedicated office within DOJ or Public Attorney Office that would provide legal assistance and representation to law enforcement officials facing charges;
8. To establish a program in the Department of Social Welfare and Development to assist the surviving families of those killed during police operations;
9. To investigate not only the possible criminal acts of policemen but also the liabilities of their superiors under the Philippine Act on Crimes Against International Humanitarian Law, Genocide, and Other Crimes Against Humanity;
10. To direct an independent investigation by a commission on the President’s war on drugs and the concomitant EJKs that have gone with it.