MANILA – Senator Alan Peter Cayetano on Monday again came to the defense of President Rodrigo Duterte and his war on drugs. Duterte and the police force have been drawing criticisms over what human rights advocates say is a blatant disregard for due process and human rights in the conduct of anti-illegal drug operations.
But Cayetano said the media and human rights advocates are ignoring the positive effects of the president's campaign. ''Drug lords and their supporters are on the run. People are beginning to feel safe. There is a renewed trust on our law enforcers and government under President Duterte,'' Cayetano said in a Senate hearing.
Cayetano said the Duterte administration is being persecuted for its campaign even though there are now fewer daily murder and homicide cases compared to the time of former President Benigno Aquino III.
In his presentation, Cayetano said there was a daily average of 34 murder and homicide cases in 2010; 32 in 2011; 32 in 2012; 44 in 2013; 36 in 2014; 34 in 2015; and 30 from January to June 2016. Cayetano said since Duterte took power in July, there has been a daily average of 20 murder and homicide cases.
''More than about a third are now being saved everyday because of efforts of the PNP [Philippine National Police],'' he said. 'EXTRA-JUDICIAL KILLING' Cayetano said administration critics, the media, and human rights advocates might be using the term ''extra-judicial killings'' loosely.
He argued, citing the Administrative Order issued by former President Aquino, that ''killings related to common criminals and/or perpetration of their crimes'' shall not be considered an extra-judicial killing.
''Sa umpisa pa lang ng hearing na ito, kung ano anong numero na narinig natin. Did they clarify which was extra-judicial killing or not?" he said. (Yet since the hearing started, I have heard so many figures. Did they clarify which was extrajudicial killing or not?)
Cayetano said the public should appreciate the decline in the number of crimes against property since Duterte launched his campaign against drugs. ''Ang mga pushers, user kailangan ng pera, nagnanakaw.
But because nagsu-surrender ang mga user, nahuhuli, pababa ang crime volume,'' he said. (Drug pushers and users need money, so they steal. But because they have surrendered or were arrested, the crime volume has gone down.)
Cayetano, Duterte's defeated vice-presidential running mate, aired his sentiments as Senator Leila de Lima on Monday launched her investigation into the spate of killings in Duterte's war on drugs.
De Lima, in her opening statement for the hearing, said the unabated killings in relation to Duterte's war on drugs has been disturbing. She said the inquiry aims to look into into how alleged death squads could be masking their murders as part of government's campaign against narcotics.
"I strongly believe that extra-legal killings, whether perpetrated by the state or by non-state actors, must stop. Blatant disregard for human life must stop,'' de Lima said.
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