Press Release
July 9, 2019

Dispatch from Crame No. 552
Sen. Leila M. de Lima: UN and ICC should investigate EJKs and Halt Duterte's Killing Machine


No matter how Duterte's mouthpiece spin it by calling the latest Amnesty International (AI) report as an act of "politicizing" EJKs and an alleged undue interference into the domestic affairs of the country, and despite the PNP Chief's blanket remark that the international NGO's findings are "stereotype" allegations unworthy of belief, no apologist of Duterte's "drug war" killings can conceal the inescapable truth: EJKs continue unabated with near zero accountability within our domestic system, thus, triggering a growing global clamor for international intergovernmental bodies, such as the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) and the International Criminal Court (ICC), to independently investigate the killings and other human rights violations in the country that can lead to the prosecution and punishment of the perpetrators and the masterminds behind the atrocities.

In their comprehensive report, "They Just Kill Us", released yesterday, which is a follow-up to their January 2017 work entitled "If You are Poor, You are Killed", AI has again convincingly shown that the killings have more than reached the "threshold of crimes against humanity" as the mayhem has already spiraled out of the slums of Metro Manila to other populous areas, such as Bulacan, labeling this Central Luzon province as the "bloodiest killing field" in the Philippines today.

The rights group has also pointed to the continued lack of meaningful accountability in our national system for the thousands of EJKs. Only a single case--that of the murdered minor Kian de los Santos, caught on CCTV--has produced the conviction of obviously guilty police officers.

As before, AI joins the chorus of calls from all over urging the UN and the International Criminal Court (ICC) to probe the killings here. I wholeheartedly support it. In fact, in my previous messages for the International Human Rights Day in 2017 and 2018, reiterated in my letters to UNHRC member-states in their sessions last September 2018 and this June-July 2019, I have been requesting the UNHRC to urgently dispatch to the Philippines a team of independent and international investigators.

While AI has called Duterte's "war on drugs" a "large-scale murdering enterprise", I labeled it as a monstrous "killing machine" whose continued rampage with almost no accountability within the national system requires the focus and concrete actions from such global instruments of justice as the UNHRC and the ICC.

The lack of any serious domestic investigation makes the Philippine government in a clear breach of its duty under international law to investigate EJKs, an obligation traceable to the general duty of a state to respect and guarantee human rights under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

A UNHRC-led commission of inquiry has become paramount, both as a measure of justice to the Filipino people whose access to local legal remedies is practically nil, and as tool of necessity to prove that resort to UN mechanisms and processes remains viable for our people, given the Philippines' pullout from the ICC.

(Access the handwritten copy of Dispatch from Crame No. 552, here:

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