Senate probe on extra-judicial killings to also tackle justice system flaws

MANILA — The Senate inquiry into the alleged extra-judicial killings and summary execution next week will also look into probable solutions to improve the Philippine’s criminal justice system, Senator Leila de Lima said Friday.

De Lima, Chair of the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights, stressed the importance of ensuring effective conduct of criminal investigations by enhancing the cooperation and coordination of law enforcement agencies and prosecution agencies.

De Lima earlier filed, Senate Bill (SB) 369, or the Criminal Investigation Act of 2016, which seeks to improve the criminal justice process to dissuade vigilantism.

“We need to address the phenomenon of vigilantism and summary killings and to enhance the accountability of state and non-state actors,” the neophyte senator said.

The Senate has set the legislative hearing on Aug. 22 and 23 to address the increase in extra-judicial killings and summary executions.

As former Justice Secretary, De Lima earlier questioned legitimacy of the Duterte administration’s aggressive anti-drug campaign.

She said that regardless of the question whether those killed were in fact criminals, “there was no opportunity for them to be prosecuted before a court of law.”

She also described the killings as a “state-sanctioned cover for the policy of summary executions and extra-judicial killings.”

Expected to attend the hearing are law enforcement officials including the Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Ronald Dela Rosa, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Director General Isidro Lapena and National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Director Dante Gierran.

Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Ismael Sueno and Commission on Human Rights (CHR) Chairman Chito Gascon will also serve as resource persons to provide their insights on the issue. Azer Parrocha/PNA/