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Solon seeks House probe on killings of suspected drug offenders

A Liberal Party stalwart wants the House of Representatives to investigate the spate of extrajudicial killings and summary executions involving suspected drug offenders and other criminals even before President Rodrigo Duterte formally assumed office on June 30. 

In House Resolution 61, Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat noted the sudden rise of drug suspects killed in the past few weeks, with the Philippine National Police reporting the deaths of 25 drug suspects in police operations from June 16 to 20, compared to the 68 killings recorded between January 1 to June 15. 

From Duterte’s inauguration until the House resolution was filed on July 7, the lawmaker said at least 23 suspected drug offenders have been killed by law enforces under what he described to be “vague circumstances.”

At least 22 suspected drug-related killings have also been reported by the PNP outside of police operations from May 14 until the end of June, he added.

Baguilat cited clamor from the public and government officials as basis for seeking a congressional probe on the drug-related killings, saying that no less than presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella has expressed alarm over the deaths of suspected offenders.

He said even public interest groups such as the National Union of People’s Lawyers, despite their support for a strong campaign against illegal drugs, have expressed concern and called for a stop to police-perpetrated killings of suspected drug offenders.

“It behooves Congress, as the people’s instrument for securing social order through the establishment of just laws and thus, the rule of law, to scrutinize the circumstances behind the aforementioned killings, with a view of ensuring that the people’s rights and lives are protected, especially by law enforcers,” Baguilat said.

The lawmaker warned about the possible emergence of lawlessness and anarchy if the killings were left unrestrained as people could take the law into their own hands and kill those they suspect of breaking the law.

Earlier in the day, Senator Leila de Lima said she will file a bill calling for a congressional probe on the growing list of drug suspects killed in police operations. — Xianne Arcangel/RSJ, GMA News