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Abante calls on PNP to protect drug war victims

Manila lawmaker Benny Abante on Tuesday called on the Philippine National Police (PNP) to protect those who will testify on the extrajudicial killings allegedly connected to the police’s anti-drug operations during the Duterte administration.

House human rights panel chairperson Abante made the call since his committee will resume the Duterte-era drug war killings probe on June 25.

“The police are no longer the same kind of police during the time of the former president [Rodrigo Duterte]. The President (Ferdinand Marcos, Jr.) now, wala naman siya binabanggit na patayin niyo ‘yang mga yan,” Abante told reporters.

“Wala ng ganun eh... I will write to (PNP Chief) Director General [Rommel Francisco] Marbil to give protection to the victims,” he added. 

Likewise, Abante called on the victims to testify before his committee so they can bring the perpetrators to account.

“Nasa labas sila, nagra-rally. Kahit mag-rally sila anong sabihin niyo diyan. Walang mangyayari. Sabihin niyo sa hearing ko, may mangyayari,” Abante said.

“Itutuloy namin itong [imbestigasyon] na ito,” he added.

Based on records from the Duterte administration, around 6,200 drug suspects died during the Duterte administration’s anti-drug police operations.

Human rights organizations, however, counter that the number of fatalities go as high as 30,000 due to unreported drug-related killings.

During the hearing, human rights lawyer Chel Diokno revealed a report supposedly from the Duterte administration, as cited in one of the Supreme Court resolutions, stating that over 20,000 died in 2017. 

Diokno is one of the petitioners who questioned the legality of the drug war before the Supreme Court.

Duterte is supposedly the subject of an International Criminal Court (ICC) probe over alleged crimes against humanity committed during his bloody war on drugs.—RF, GMA Integrated News