Duterte foe ousted from probe
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. –
Leila de Lima (right) chairs the Senate investigation into the extra-judicial killings before her removal on September 19.