by Carlo Angelo Suñga
Senator Alan Peter Cayetano shrugs off critics
(Photo from Concept News Central)
Senator Alan Peter Cayetano reacted on Monday with criticism over the “extrajudicial killings” branding of the drug-related operations under Duterte administration.
Cayetano claims that the drug-related casualties and killings are wrongfully branded as extrajudicial.
“Are we [therefore] using the term ‘extrajudicial killings’ loosely to discredit the PNP (Philippine National Police) and Duterte administration?” the Senator said during his opening statement at the Senate hearing.
Cayetano also referred to Administrative Order No. 35, under the previous administration of former President Benigno Aquino III, as the definition of extrajudicial killings. Based on his argument, classified under the order says that the killing of common criminals are not labeled extrajudicial.
“Sa kanila [Aquino administration], ang common criminals, hindi kasama sa extrajudicial killings,” Cayetano said. “During the Aquino administration, of the 1,400 people killed, 395 were labeled as extrajudicial,” he added.
The senator stated how the brandings and labels of the killings are attempts to discredit the administration’s continuous campaign in preventing the nation’s main problem with illegal drugs.
“[The Filipino] people support the anti-drug war, criminals don’t. Ang mga kriminal at drug pusher ay gumagastos ngayonsa kahit ano para i-discredit ang administrasyon na ito, para matuloy ang kanilang multi-billion na negosyo,” Cayetano said.
Senator Leila De Lima showing statistics of EJK
(Photo from Inquirer.net)
More so, Sen. Cayetano boasted how the country has fared well against crime under Duterte’s governance of the nation, citing data from the Philippine National Police that the crime volume has dropped to 5,522 incidents after 31 days under the new administration.
“The old norm was that drug lords and their cohorts acted in impunity,” he said. “Ngayon po, the respect and fear of the law have been restored. Drug lords and their supporters are on the run. People are beginning to feel safe. [There’s a] renewed trust in the government under President Duterte.”
The senator also criticized the media, saying that they could give the public audience more insight about the term extrajudicial killings. “I was hoping that we could educate the people more, para hindi sila ma-mislead na lahat ng patayan [ngayon] ay extrajudicial killings,” Cayetano said.
Contrary to Cayetano’s statements, Senator Leila de Lima emphasized how the anti-drug campaign is an effort to excuse the killings as extrajudicial.
“What is particularly worrisome is that the campaign against drugs seems to be an excuse for some law enforcers and other elements like vigilantes to commit murder with impunity,” she said at the Senate panel hearing on the killings.