SENATOR Leila De Lima on Monday, July 24, dared Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II to disclose the breakdown of the supposed 219 “verified” cases of extrajudicial killings (EJK) in connection with President Rodrigo Duterte’s campaign against illegal drugs.
“We should ask for a breakdown of the 219 ‘verified’ cases of EJKs disclosed by the DOJ (via a July 21 article by Rappler) by way of a retort to my claim, based on reliable sources that the SOJ issued an internal directive not to file cases against law enforcement officers enforcing the War on Drugs,” De Lima said in a statement.
The senator made the challenge after Aguirre denied her claim that he failed to investigate and prosecute more than 7,000 killings allegedly related to Duterte’s drug war.
Earlier on July 13, De Lima filed a complaint against Aguirre before the Office of the Ombudsman, accusing him of issuing an illegal directive ordering National Prosecution Service (NPS) to restrict the filing of cases against any official enforcing the drug war.
This is the reason, she claimed, why “not a single case” of summary killings — apart from cases exposed in Senate hearings — “was ever investigated or prosecuted by the NBI (National Bureau of Investigation) and the NPS under respondent DOJ Secretary.”
In defense, Aguirre said that the DOJ has “219 verified cases of EJKs” covered by the Administrative Order No. 35 (AO35) or the Inter-Agency Committee on Extra-Legal Killings, Enforced Disappearances, Torture and Other Grave Violations of the Right to Life, Liberty and Security of Persons.
The figure, according to the department, include three cases under preliminary investigation of the NPS, one case under preliminary investigation of the Office of the Ombudsman, 6 under police investigation, 21 under trial, 48 unsolved, 64 archived, and 76 terminated.
De Lima, however, stressed that AO35 pertains to the extrajudicial killings that occurred before the Duterte administration.
“I should know because I was the one who drafted the AO35 (as then SOJ) and recommended the same to then President PNoy (Benigno Aquino ‘Noynoy’ Aquino III) who signed and issued the same,” said De Lima, who also served as the justice secretary during Aquino’s term.
She also pointed out that she was “obviously referring to the present-day EJKs” in her recent complaint.
The senator went on to say, “Mukhang nanloloko na naman kayo (Looks like your’e fooling anyone again). Stop misleading or fooling the people, please.”