Duterte foe ousted from probe

The Myanmar Times - - World -

THE lead­ing critic of Philip­pine Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte’s bloody war on drugs was ousted as head of a Se­nate in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the cam­paign, which has cost thou­sands of lives.

Se­na­tor Leila de Lima said her probe into the surge of killings since Mr Duterte took of­fice on June 30 had been de­railed af­ter his al­lies voted to re­move her as head of the Se­nate jus­tice com­mit­tee.

Ms De Lima, a for­mer jus­tice sec­re­tary and hu­man rights chief, had launched the Se­nate probe.

It heard ex­plo­sive al­le­ga­tions last week from a for­mer hit­man that Mr Duterte or­dered hun­dreds of killings when he was mayor of the south­ern city of Davao and even shot one vic­tim him­self. The gov­ern­ment de­scribed the al­le­ga­tions as lies.

On Septem­ber 19, pro-Duterte se­na­tors who con­trol the leg­isla­tive cham­ber charged that Ms de Lima’s in­ves­ti­ga­tion was ru­in­ing the coun­try’s im­age and voted to re­move her as head of the jus­tice com­mit­tee.

Ms de Lima blamed Mr Duterte for her oust­ing, telling ABS-CBN tele­vi­sion, “I know I will con­tinue to be cru­ci­fied be­cause the pres­i­dent him­self wants that ... since I ini­ti­ated the in­quiry into his ex­tra-ju­di­cial killings.

“I don’t know what will hap­pen now, whether this in­quiry into the ex­tra-ju­di­cial killings will at all be cred­i­ble,” she said, warn­ing that other se­na­tors would try to con­ceal the pres­i­dent’s cul­pa­bil­ity.

On Septem­ber 18, Mr Duterte asked for a six-month ex­ten­sion for his war on drugs, say­ing there were too many peo­ple in­volved in the nar­cotics trade.

Among the ap­par­ent vic­tims of the war on drugs was a daugh­ter of the late Bri­tish baron Lord Moyni­han, po­lice said.

Maria Aurora Moyni­han, 45, was shot by un­known at­tack­ers who left her by the side of a Manila Street on Septem­ber 10.

Her killers left a card­board sign ac­cus­ing Ms Moyni­han of be­ing a “drug pusher for celebri­ties”, Chief In­spec­tor Tito Jay Cu­den told AFP.

The vic­tim was on bail while fac­ing charges of pos­ses­sion of il­le­gal drugs fol­low­ing a Fe­bru­ary 2013 sub­ur­ban Manila po­lice raid.

In a speech in Davao late on Septem­ber 19, Mr Duterte brushed off any pos­si­ble in­ves­ti­ga­tions into his crime war, which has at­tracted strong in­ter­na­tional criticism.

“Whether there will be a thou­sand in­ves­ti­ga­tions or [UN chief] Ban Ki-moon him­self comes here, I don’t give a shit,” he said.

“I don’t care whether there are a thou­sand hear­ings ev­ery­where ... I will not stop un­til the last push­ers on the streets are fully ex­ter­mi­nated,” Mr Duterte said. –

Photo: AFP

Leila de Lima (right) chairs the Se­nate in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the ex­tra-ju­di­cial killings be­fore her re­moval on Septem­ber 19.

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