IN a dazzling display of sophistry, a top official of the Philippine National Police said Monday there are no extrajudicial killings in the Philippines for the simple reason there is no death penalty.
“There is no death penalty so there is no judicial killing,” said Insp. Gen. Alfegar Triambulo of the PNP Internal Affairs Service [IAS], speaking in Filipino. “If there is no judicial killing, there is no extrajudicial killing.”
The correct term for killings during police operations is “homicides under investigation,” he added, noting that there are 2,000 of such cases that IAS is investigating.
Meanwhile, PNP chief Director Ronald dela Rosa said he supported the definition of extrajudicial killings under Administrative Order No. 35, which says these are “killings where the victim was a member of, or affiliated with an organization, to include political, environmental, labor, or similar causes; or an advocate of the said cause; or a media practitioner apparently mistaken or identified to be so.”
The implementing guidelines for AO 35, issued by President Benigno Aquino III, says a person is considered the victim of extrajudicial killing if he or she is “targeted and killed because of the actual or perceived membership, advocacy, or profession; or the person(s) responsible for the killing is a state agent or non-state agent; and the method and circumstances of attack reveal a deliberate intent to kill.”
Curiously, both definitions bring down the number of extrajudicial killings as a result of the government’s bloody anti-drug war to zero, a suggestion that is so absurd that it seems almost surreal.
This may help the administration in its war of words with human rights groups, but it doesn’t fix the problem of innocent people—most tragically, minors—being killed by the police in anti-drug operations.
US jurisprudence defines an extrajudicial killing as “a deliberated killing not authorized by a previous judgment pronounced by a regularly constituted court affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples.”
An even simpler definition, accepted internationally, is that an extrajudicial killing is the killing of a person by governmental authorities without the sanction of any judicial proceeding or legal process.
Nobody is fooled by the semantics, however.
Even the Palace admitted this week that the involvement of policemen in the killing of teenagers pulled down President Duterte’s satisfaction and trust ratings in the latest Social Weather Stations Survey.
In the Third Quarter 2017 survey, SWS found that Duterte’s net satisfaction rating fell by 18 points, while his trust rating dropped by 15 points.
Overall, however, many Filipinos are still satisfied with Duterte (+48 percent) and trust him (+60), the survey shows. It seems imperative, then, that the President not squander the faith in him by playing word games instead of actually acknowledging, then fixing the problem of extrajudicial killings.
ASEAN NEWSPAPER OPINIONS AND EDITORIALS
7.1. Whatever it takes– The Daily Tribune
7.2. A tremendous security problem for the PNP– The Manila Bulletin
7.3. Changing words won’t fix the problem– The Manila Standard
7.4. DE LIMA– The Manila Times
7.5. The numbers on Duterte– The Philippine Daily Inquirer.
7.6. – The Phil Star
8.1. Sugar tax in Singapore too bitter a pill to swallow. – Straits Times
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