EJKs, human rights violations need proof » Manila Bulletin News

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By Argyll Cyrus Geducos 

Malacañang said that there has to be proof to back up claims of extrajudicial or extralegal killings (EJKs, ELKs) and human rights violations in the country.

This as Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, in a radio interview, acknowledged the existence of cases of EJKs, ELKs, and human rights violations, but said there has to be proof.

Newly-appointed Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. holds his first press briefing in Malacañan on November 2, 2017. (VALERIE ESCALERA/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

He also said that, despite the Court’s narrow definition of EJK, the Philippine National Police (PNP) is not the one to define the term after the police organization claimed that EJKs do not exist in the country.

“Hindi naman po PNP nagde-definition niyan, ang korte natin po nagbigay ng definition niyan. Bagama’t napaka-narrow ng definition na ‘yan, iyong pagpatay ng aktibista at pagpatay ng mga mamamahayag (The PNP is not the one giving its definition, it’s our Court despite the narrow definition limiting EJKs to the killings of activists and journalists),” he said in an interview over DWIZ, Sunday.

President Duterte’s new spokesman also cited the definition provided by the United Nations.

“Mayroon din pong definition sa United Nations, iyong tinatawag na Minnesota protocol at kasama po sa Extralegal killings ang lahat ng pagpatay na wala pong due process (The UN also has the Minnesota protocol where every killing without due process are under ELKs),” he said.

“Siguro it’s a matter of sabihan sila na hindi sila ang nagbibigay ng definition diyan (Maybe it’s a matter of telling them that they are not the ones who should give the term its definition),” he added.

Roque also acknowledged the calls of human rights advocates but said the cries for justice are just not enough.

“‘Yan po talaga ang trabaho ng human rights group ‘no na kumuha ng atensiyon ng publiko sa pamamagitan ng mga pananalita at paggagawa ng ingay (That’s really the function of human rights groups, to call the attention of the public by creating noise),” he explained.

“Pero pagdating na diyan sa patayan, hindi po matitigil ang patayan kung hindi napaparusahan ang mga pumapatay (But when it comes to the killings, they will not be stopped unless those responsible are punished),” he added.

“Kaya importante, kumalap ng ebidensiya hindi lamang para mabaligtad iyong presumption of regularity, dahil kapag walang ebidensiya na mali ang ginawa nila, eh (That’s why it is important to gather evidence to overturn the presumption of regularity, because if there’s no evidence of their misdeeds, then) the presumption [will] prevail,” he continued.

However, Roque said that not all those who died in anti-drug operations of the PNP are victims of EJKs. He added that those who abused their powers should be held responsible.

“Kung talagang mayroong ebidensiya na lumabag ang pulis sa ating mga batas at gumawa ng murder, eh kinakailangan po malitis sila (If there is evidence showing that they violated the law and committed murder, they need to be tried),” he said.

“Pero kung totoo naman na nanlaban, kinakailangan naman na bigyan natin ng pagkakilala ang ating mga kapulisan. Marami rin po talagang kasong nanlaban. (But if it’s true that the person fought back, then we need to acknowledge the police. Because there really are cases where the drug suspects fought back),” he added.

He also said that the President will not condone police officers who are found to be abusing their powers, citing how Duterte ordered the arrest of the police officers suspected to be behind the death of teenager Kian delos Santos in Caloocan City last August.

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