Sen. Leila de Lima on Thursday said President Rodrigo Duterte's "war on drugs" is shaping up to be a martial law "without the formal declaration."
A vocal critic of the spate of drug-related killings, De Lima, speaking before the Rotary Club of Manila on Thursday night, said the administration's intensive anti-drug drive is leading to "the disempowerment of the people."
She said under Duterte's anti-drug campaign, "the government can look into your private affairs and 'visit' you in your homes, even without any probable cause, without any search warrant, without any report or complaint against you or anyone of you in your households."
"I can only characterize such a situation as martial law without the formal declaration," said De Lima.
De Lima, who led a Senate investigation on the spate of drug-related killings, also slammed the Philippine National Police for its door-to-door campaign at gated communities.
"[T]hey are asking subdivision associations to allow PNP access to the gated communities of the more affluent among our people. Kakatok na po ang pulisya sa inyong mga bahay, at kapag hindi kayo nagpaunlak, isasama na lang kayo sa isang listahan. Katulad ng pagsama nila sa aking pangalan on their so-called drug matrix," she said.
Human rights abuses
She also reiterated her opposition against suggestions to set aside the rising death toll in exchange for safety against drugs.
"Ang tanong, sino po ba ang mga biktima? Ligtas bang maituturing ang lipunan kung saan may natatagpuang mga bangkay tuwing umaga, may napapatay na limang taong gulang na bata, at maraming pagpaslang ang hindi matukoy kung sino ang gumawa?" De Lima said.
She added: "Hindi lang po batas ang nilalabag dito, kundi maging ang ating karapatang pantao. Bawat dagdag sa inuulat na numero, may nawawalan ng magulang, nauulilang musmos, nagdurusang asawa, at nagsasarang pinto ng pag-asa."
She noted that the Philippines is now under scrutiny and international attention because of Duterte's campaign against illegal drugs and the string of killings being linked to it.
"Hindi po tayo nananakot. We are just reminding this government that outside this country, there is still such a thing as a civilized world that is bound by international law and by common principles of human rights. And they are watching us," De Lima said.
"Until when can we go on ignoring their concerns as we continue with our bloody drug war, eventually alienating ourselves from the rest of the community of nations as a pariah or worse, as a rogue State? I'm sure no one wants that," she added,
According to PNP chief Dir. Gen. Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa, 929 suspected drug users and trafficers have been killed in police operations from July 1 to August 31. He also mentioned that there are 1,507 "reported deaths" in the administration's anti-drug offensive.
Dela Rosa attributed the discrepancy in numbers to the media's conclusion of "deaths under investigation," and that some outfits began counting casualties after Duterte won the May 9 polls. — Rose-An Jessica Dioquino/KBK, GMA News