Pubdate: Wed, 20 Jul 2016
Source: Sunstar Davao (Philippines)
Copyright: 2016 Sunstar
Contact:  Http://Www.Sunstar.Com.Ph/Davao/
Details: Http://Www.Mapinc.Org/Media/1991
Note: Printed As Letter From: Citizen's Council for Human Rights (Cchr)


the Citizen's Council for Human Rights (Cchr) Strongly Condemns the 
Escalating Number of Killings of Suspected Drug Pushers and 
Dependents WHO Said to Have Died Either During So-Called Legitimate 
Police Operations or at the Hands of Unknown Gunmen.

the Surge in Fatalities Is Too Alarming to Be Ignored: From January 1 
to May 9 This Year (129 Days), Reported Deaths From Drug-Related 
Violence Was 39. but the Death Count Suddenly Swelled After May 10. 
in a Matter of 64 Days, 251 Deaths Have Already Been Reported. What 
Makes These Spate of Executions Most Worrisome Is That This Was 
Prompted by President Duterte's Pronouncements, Made Even Before His 
Assumption into Office, That Urged the Police, Ordinary Citizens and 
Later, the New Peoples Army to Kill All Those Involved in the Illegal 
Drug Trade, With the Promise That He Would Shield Them Against Any 
Legal Consequences.

Coming From the Chief Executive Himself, This Declaration Legitimizes 
a System of Crime Response Where the Police and Regular Citizens 
Become Prosecutors, Judges and Executioners. the Criminal Justice 
System Provides Safeguards to Protect Suspected Offenders and All 
Citizens Against Arbitrary Acts Through Transparency, and Checks and 
Balances. the Arbitrary Killing of Suspects Bypasses This System 
Altogether, Infringes on Fundamental Due Process Tenets and Denies 
People the Right to Be Presumed Innocent Until Proven Guilty.

the Social Costs and Dangers of Arbitrary Methods Should Not Be 
Underestimated. the Disregard of Safeguards Endangers Everyone in 
Philippine Society: Anyone Can Now Be Accused of Any Crime or 
Involvement in Illegal Drugs and Be Executed Before and Without 
Having a Chance to Publicly Defend Themselves in Court. There Is No 
Reason Why These Violations Will Not Extend to Law-Abiding Citizens 
and Human Rights and Environmental Defenders, As in the Case of 
Gloria Capitan, Grandmother and Campaigner for Her Community's 
Environmental Rights.

Human Rights Organizations and the Chr Have Spent Over Three Decades 
Sensitizing Security Forces on Human Rights Values and Ideals, but 
These Efforts Are About to Go for Naught.

Besides Extra-Judicial Executions, the Duterte Administration's War 
on Drugs Has Inspired Other Excesses. at Least One Woman and a Child 
Has Been Sexually Harassed in the Course of Operations. on Many 
Occasions, Suspected Drug Peddlers and Drug Dependents, Before Having 
Their Day in Court, Are Paraded in Public Places.

Apart From Being an Affront to the Dignity of Persons and Their Loved 
Ones, Shame Campaigns and Sexual Harassment Also Undermine the 
Well-Being of Communities and Philippine Society in General. Such 
Acts, Categorized As Psychological Torture Is Prohibited by the 
Anti-Torture Act of 2009 or Ra 9745. by Allowing Such Illegal Acts by 
Authorities, We Contribute to the Culture Haphazard, Harmful and 
Arbitrary Dispensation of Justice. Local Executives Should Treat Drug 
Dependents With Compassion and Facilitate Their Rehabilitation While 
Ensuring That Those Involved in the Drug Trade Are Brought to Justice 
Through Legitimate Processes.

the Citizen's Council for Human Rights Does Not Believe These Methods 
Which Deliberately Violate the Right to Life, Right to Dignity and 
Due Process, Will Solve the Country's Crime and Illegal Drugs 
Problem. in Fact, the Social Costs and Dangers of Employing 
Extra-Legal Methods Are High.

the Group Held Cardboard Signs, Similar to Those Placed on Bodies of 
Victims, Asserting Strict Observance of Police Rules of Engagement, 
and Justice for the Human Rights Victims. a Yellow Barricade Tape Was 
Also Hung Around a Space With Traced Bodies of 'Victims.'

Finally, Cchr Calls on the Duterte Government To:

1. Immediately Stop the Killings of Suspected Criminals and Drug 
Related Offenders

Law Enforcement Authorities and Government Officials Should Abide by 
Our Criminal Justice System, by Securing Warrants Prior to Arrest, 
Strict Observance of Police Rules of Engagement and Maximum Tolerance 
in the Arrest of Suspects, Filing of Appropriate Cases and Bringing 
Them to the Bjmp Without Harm and Allowing Them to Stand Trial. the 
Killing of Suspects Outside the Rule of Law Is Palliative and Does 
Not Tackle the Core of the Crime and Drug Problems.

2. Strictly Prohibit LGU Executives and Law Enforcement Units From 
Implementing Torture and Dehumanizing Methods in the Fight Against 
Crime and Drugs.

the Listing of and Knocking on Houses of Persons Suspected of 
Peddling and Using Drugs to As Well As the "Walks of Shame" Destroy 
the Humanity of Persons and Their Families. These Individuals Are 
Also Deprived of Their Right to Due Process and to Reintegrate With 
Their Communities With Dignity.

3. Professionalize and Raise the Human Rights and Respect for the 
Rule of Law Standards of the PNP, PDEA, NBI and Other Law Enforcement 
Agencies and Rid Their Ranks of Those Involved in Corruption and 
Syndicated Crime.

the Most Professional and Efficient Law Enforcement Agencies in the 
World Are Those Which Have Solid Human Rights Foundations and Those 
That Strictly Adhere to the Very Laws They Are Tasked to Uphold. 
Strict Adherence to the Rule of Law, Institutional Safeguards and 
Respect for Human Rights Must Be the Cornerstones of Philippine Law 
Enforcement Modernization and Professionalization.

4. Review and Reform the Criminal Justice System and Root Out 
Corruption in the Prosecution Service, Courts, the Bjmp and the Bucor 
As Soon As Possible With the View of Making the Whole System Prompt 
and Efficient in Dispensing Justice and Reforming Persons.

5. Institute Mechanisms Widely Accessible to Ordinary Filipinos So 
That Corruption, Involvement in Crime, Violations to the Rule of Law 
and Due Process As Well As Extra Judicial Killings and Other Grave 
Excesses Can Be Promptly Reported to Relevant Institutions.

6. Review and Reconsider State Policy on Drug Addiction and Make 
Available and Accessible Proper Drug Rehabilitation Programs and 
Facilities to the Majority of Drug Dependents WHO Come From the Poor.

Drug Dependents Are Persons WHO Are Ill and Are Victims of Addictive 
Substances. While the Manufacture and Sale of Drugs Are Crimes, Drug 
Addiction Is Not. Drug Abuse Is a Public Health Issue and It Should 
Be the Doh and Its Counterpart Units at the LGU Handling Drug 
Rehabilitation Programs and Facilities, Not Corrections Officials. 
60% of Those in Philippine Jails and Penal Institutions Are 
Incarcerated Due to Drug Offenses Under the Dangerous Drugs Act of 
2009 or Ra 9165; These Are People WHO Need Proper Treatment.

7. Invest in the Realization of a Life of Dignity for All.

Essential Services Such As Education, Health, Housing, Food and the 
Commons Such As Water and Electricity and Other Basic Needs Which 
People Need to Get Out of Poverty and Become Productive Members of 
Philippine Society, Should Be Democratized. These Requirements of a 
Life of Dignity Provide People With Economic and Social 
Opportunities, Enabling Them to Pave Their Way Out of Often 
Unbearable Conditions Which Engender Anti-Social Values and Behavior. 
We Should Address the Roots of Rampant Crime and Extensive Drug Trade 
and Abuse As Well As Many Other Social Problems by Stamping Out 
Poverty and Social Idleness. These Social Levelers Include a Good 
Public Education Which Exists for the Benefit of Public Order. 
Currently, We Waste Human Resources Because So Many in Poor 
Communities Are Unskilled, When They Could Contribute to Nation 
Building. When All in Philippine Society Enjoy a Productive Life of 
Dignity, There Will Be Few Left WHO Are Prone and Vulnerable to 
Dysfunctional Behavior or Predisposed to a Life of Crime and Drugs.

8. Halt All Initiatives Toward the Reimposition of the Death Penalty 
and the Lowering of the Age of Discernment.

9. Investigate and Prosecute the Authorities Responsible for Human 
Rights Violations in the Course of the Drug War Implementation. 
Justice Must Be Served to the Families of Those Killed, Tortured and 
to Those WHO Suffered From Sexual Harassment.

Stop the Killings and Shame Campaigns! No to Vigilantism!

Address the Root Cause of Social Problems!

Bring Offenders to Justice Through Due Process and the Rule of Law!

Citizen's Council for Human Rights (Cchr)

[Cchr Is a Broad Coalition of Non-Government Organizations (Ngos), 
People's Organizations (Pos), Human Rights Lawyers, Religious Sector 
and Members of the Academe That Came Together to Defend and Assert 
Human Rights for All.]
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom