Leila De Lima is to blame for persistence of extrajudicial killings in the Philippines

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The way social media “activists” are chattering about the supposed sudden surge of “extrajudicial killings” (EJKs) in recent weeks, you’d think that the Philippines has descended into an orgy of vigilantism under current President Rodrigo Duterte. The fact is, EJKs have long been a business-as-usual feature of Filipino-style “justice”.

Back in 2010, the Hong Kong-based Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) issued a damning report on the sorry state of human rights advocacy in Philippine government…

The Philippine National Police and government spokesmen have a habit of assuring the foreign community that the country is safe, in the face of travel advisories to the contrary issued by foreign governments.

The human rights body said it has become ordinary for killings to be carried out by policemen, the military and the paramilitary forces working for them, and for killings to be perpetrated in broad daylight in crowded public places and in front of the victims’ families in their own homes.

That was back in November 2010 when then newly-ascended President Benigno Simeon ‘BS’ Aquino III was just short of five months in office. In retrospect, Aquino could, perhaps, be forgiven for copping that AHRC indictment on the Philippines’ human rights record. After all, five months in office will not likely have been enough time to crack down on the practice. Furthermore, it could be argued that it was a problem that had likely festered under the watch of his predecessor, former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and previous governments.

Interestingly enough, it was under Arroyo’s government that newly-minted Senator Leila De Lima served as chairperson of the Philippine Commission on Human Rights (PCHR). So it is quite telling that the Philippines’ reputation as a den of muderous policemen and soldiers persisted well into 2010 when Aquino assumed power. Even more astounding, De Lima was then tapped to head the Justice Department as a Cabinet Secretary in Aquino’s government.

Despite all that, there seems to be scant evidence that President BS Aquino had actually taken strong measures to change anything. Indeed, one could actually judge Aquino’s commitment to eradicating the practice of EJKs on the basis of the snail-paced speed with which he acted on the massacre of Lumad tribal leaders allegedly perpetrated by elements of the Philippine police and army. In fact, “snail-paced” is putting it nicely. Aquino, it seems, did nothing

BS Aquino was quick to absolve the military of responsibility for the atrocities. It is also interesting to note that the President’s rabid supporters are not appalled by the crimes committed against the Lumads the same way they are appalled by the crimes committed during the Martial Law years. Economist and media personality Solita “Winnie” Monsod even pins the blame on the leftist for the killings even before an investigation had started.

Just the same, where there’s smoke, there is fire. All the shrieks of “bloody murder” rippling across Philippine social media over the mounting body count of suspected “drug personalities” and other alleged crooks perhaps warrants a look. To be fair, much of the reports and body count “score cards” being put up by every other Netizen covering politics in the Philippines, at first glance, points to that glaring surge in these types of homicides. However, there are extreaneous variables that potentially cloud such a hasty conclusion.

For one thing, the body counts being “reported” on news media are dependent on data provided by other news reports. So one could argue the strong possibility that the general increased attention put by news outlets on reporting these incidents (rather than on actual absolute incident statistics from reliable sources-of-truth) may skew these body counts to the high side. Indeed, there is strong possibility of an across-the-board deliberate under-reporting of EJKs during Aquino’s watch thanks, in part, to the widely known cosy relationship corporate news media enjoyed with the Aquino government. The fact that the same news outlets now find themselves on Dutete’s bad side makes their “journalism” all but suspect today.

Second, no one amongst the folk maintaining “body count” scorecards actually possesses the authority to rule an incident as an EJK. Only the police enjoys jurisdiction over investigation and collection of relevant facts surrounding a homicide case, and only a Philippine court can rule with finality whether said homicide case is, in fact, an EJK on the basis of guilt established as part of due process.

Third, the Duterte government is only less than a month old. Recall that Aquino himself, six months into his term as President, disavowed himself of any accountability for EJKs happening under his young watch.

So, on the part of social media “activists”, three layers of variables cloud any effort to issue summary indictments on the Duterte government’s human rights track record: (1) the questionable nature of their data sources, (2) the unauthoritative nature of the means with which they classify these reported homicides; and (3) the small sample set thus far considering how early into Duterte’s admin judgement is being passed.

On top of that, there is also the faulty correlation of these incidents to the personalities involved. Before considering Duterte as the cause of this purported surge in EJKs, consider De Lima, first. Senator De Lima, alone, is the single biggest common denominator across the Arroyo, Aquino, and Duterte governments. Her being in a position to lead a change in the Philippines’ Human Rights record encompasses eight years in the justice trade — first as PCHR head under Arroyo, then as Justice Department Secretary under Aquino, and, now, as a Philippine Senator.

If we just have to name one person who can be blamed for the continued prevalence of Extrajudicial Killings in the Philippines, that person will most certainly be Leila De Lima.

[Photo courtesy Cebu Daily News.]

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15 Comments on “Leila De Lima is to blame for persistence of extrajudicial killings in the Philippines”

  1. PILIPINOS SHOULD GO OUT AS ONE PEOPLE POWER RIGHT AWAY AND CRY TO RESTORE THE DEATH PENALTY IF THEY WANT PRESIDENT DUTERTE’S WAR ON DRUGS AND CORRUPTION TO SUCCEED. THAT’S WHAT YOU WANT PILIPINOS WHY YOU VOTED PRES DUTERTE AM I RIGHT? YOU THE PEOPLE SHALL DECIDE NOT THE SENATE.

  2. People that have trust issues only need to look in the mirror. There they will meet the one person that will betray them the most.

  3. The CHR is a known communist den. Most of their grievances are always directed towards the ruling government, and never, ever did they held the communists responsible of any atrocities. They always took the side of those good-for-nothing street activists. And one can also see frequently in newspapers on how these leftists always cry to CHR about every military operations in the countryside for alleged EJKs.

  4. Oh my, MORE BULLSHIT, JUST STOP ALREADY! The Maguindinao Massacre under GMA’s watch has not seen a trial yet! Foreign reports and warnings to STAY AWAY from the BANANA republic are justified. The entire country is a festering SHIT HOLE OF CORRUPTION AND CRIME AND SHOULD BE AVOIDED.

    THERE REALLY IS NO GOOD REASON TO GO THERE, ITS A SHAME TOO. USED TO BE DECENT PLACE TO VACATION.BUT NOT ANY MORE, NO!

    1. >> Used to be a decent place for vacation

      Actually it still is – just lock yourself in your 5-star hotel throughout your stay and minimize any contact with the locals. Be sure to use limousine service directly between hotel and airport and you should do fine.

      There are hotels that have their own enclosed beachfronts in Mactan Cebu. No annoying locals approaching you nagging about their offer of unsolicited services. No shady goon-looking dark-skinned men in sando and slippers stalking you with a suspicious look in their faces.

      Just switch on your TV and relax. Enjoy the comfort of the thought that you are completely insulated from all the crime and EJK being reported in the news.

  5. By passing due process is a sign of trouble, no matter who is doing the killings it suggests the authorities do not have a sufficient grasp on the public order. Chaos is evident and in such a place as a 3RD world SHITHOLE, IS A RECIPE FOR DISASTER, STAY AWAY !

    1. Jeez are you really THAT stupid and retarded for not understanding the word “evidence” you vindictive dimwit?

  6. De Lima is the Queen of the Drug Lords, in the Philippines…she is to blame for turning the Bilibid Prison into Shabu Mfg. Co. She has an unholy alliance with the Chinese Triad Mafia Drug syndicate.

    How many murders were under her watch in her term as Secretary of Justice under Aquino. The Mamapasano massacre; the Lumad massacres; other murders and killings…she did not do anything about them. Shabu Trafficking proliferated, under her watch. Drug Lords and Drug Traffickers ran around, like happy rats.

    De Lima must be investigated and charged, for the criminal activities, she committed…

  7. This is not to discount BS Aquino, Delima, Arroyo… as to the records of “extrajudicial killings” (EJKs)” that happened during their times, but, we can not also bar from attention President Duterte’s… with the potent cognitive factor and power of his “God-Given Mouth” to effect EJKs!

    In his column, Roberto Tiglao of Manila Times, wrote:

    “A vigilante group calling itself shamelessly, the Socialist Party of the Philippines, releases its video, boasting that it is Duterte’s armed group going after drug-pushers. The video shows a middle-aged woman begging for mercy, and promising to forever stop selling illegal drugs. A few seconds later, the video shows a vigilante in a talahiban (bush-covered lot) shooting the woman in the head, together with her four companions — ALL IN SLIPPERS (interestingly, a common observation, among all alleged druglords and suspected drug users).”

    http://www.manilatimes.net/duterte-we-are-better-than-this/272918/

    A report on the Socialist Party of the Philippines (or is it the CPP/NPA?) even claims due process!!!

    http://interaksyon.com/article/130091/watch–vigilante-group-shows-video-of-salvage-of-drug-suspects

    1. “…ALL IN SLIPPERS” (interestingly, a common observation, among all alleged druglords and suspected drug users gunned down).

  8. don’t investigate de lima and charge her right away. wait for the restoration of the death penalty then investigated and charge her of the crimes she committed, same as the rest.

    1. A very brutally accurate assessment.

      The previous govenrnments were too lenient on crime they became a wuss, and lost the trust of the people (like Duterte said in his inauguration), thus the latter decided to become the law themselves.

      What he’s doing right now is very risky, but necessary, to reimpose the might of the law upon the country. But Duterte should always watch out for exessiveness, lest it backfire on him.

  9. Looks like Leila and Leni now make up the new faces of the clown show called Philippine dysfunctional politics.

    Let’s call them the LeLe girls. They are guaranteed to entertain us for the next 6 years. What other talents do these ladies have other than flapping their big mouths and flashing silly smiles?

  10. Actually what is saddening is the reaction of many people. For 3 months now, we are bombarded by news about DRUGS and KILLINGS only. DRUGS and KILLINGS only, nothing else. Saddest thing is MOST PEOPLE ARE ENJOYING it! We do not notice that we are being diverted to that issue alone! Aside from the fact that the people are becoming more blood-thirsty, we seem to FORGET OTHER MORE IMPORTANT ISSUES: (1) What is happening to WEST PHILIPPINE SEA? While the whole world is rejoicing about the decision, the Philippines kept quiet as instructed by Pres. Duterte. China is building more and more infrastructures in WEST PHILIPPINE SEA. (2) What is happening to K-12? I heard close to a million students DROP OUT of school. (3) What is happening to our ECONOMY? I DO not see financial experts explaining about our economy-yet there is a downturn. I do not see complaints about UNEMPLOYMENT yet it is rising. (4) What is happening to INSURGENCY? CPP-NPA just slammed Pres. Duterte about the truce and in turn killed soldiers. How about Abu Sayyaf? ASG just kidnapped 5 more Malaysians. So, what is happening are we all satisfied with the news about the KILLINGS? DRUGS? Any other else?

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