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Bato dares UNHRC: Probe 22k deaths one by one, with open mind

Neophyte Senator Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa on Friday challenged the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to investigate the alleged 22,000 drug-related deaths under the Duterte administration not as a "lump" of cases but "one by one."

At a press conference, Dela Rosa, who was the chief implementer of the drug war when it started in 2016, said he is not afraid to be investigated.

"Wala akong kinakatakutan, they can investigate kung gusto nila provided they investigate with an open mind, wag nila saraduhin ang utak nila at sana wag nilang ilump up lahat ng kaso. They investigate one by one," he said.

"Kung gusto nila sabi nila 22,000 cases of EJK as a result of the war on drugs? Sige hanapin niyo 'yang 22,000 na 'yan, isa-isahin nating imbestigahan... kung makita ninyo 'yan, pasalamat ako sa inyo," Dela Rosa added.

The UNHRC has passed a resolution which seeks an investigation on the killings amid President Rodrigo Duterte's controversial war against illegal drugs. The Iceland-led resolution was backed by 17 other countries.

Dela Rosa, former chief of the Philippine National Police, claimed that those who want to look into the drug war were misled by individuals who wanted to bring down the government. He, however, did not drop any names.

"Di niyo alam 'yung binigay sa inyong numbers ay mga sinama na diyan 'yung mga namatay sa vehicular accident, 'yung mga namatay sa sakit sa puso kaya umabot na ganyan 'yung number," Dela Rosa said.

"I challenge them, you produce the 22,000 cases including 'yung mga taong nagbigay sa inyo ng impormasyon, 'yung mga tao na nagmisled sa inyo about the numbers. Produce niyo 'yan, imbestigahan natin one by one," he added.

According to Dela Rosa, the number was too high compared to the more than 6,000 deaths in the drug war that was released by local authorities.

President Rodrigo Duterte vowed to study whether to allow UN personnel to the Philippines to investigate the deaths linked to his campaign against illegal drugs.

The President said he would review the intent of the proposed investigation. — MDM, GMA News