Se­nate in­quiry on Cebu killings urged

Cebu Daily News - - FRONT PAGE - by Ador Vin­cent S. Mayol and Gabriel Pabico Lalu /WITH RE­PORTS FROM MOREXET T E ERRAM.

OP­PO­SI­TION Se­na­tors are call­ing for a se­nate in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the re­cent killings in Cebu, some of which were al­legedly com­mit­ted by po­lice of­fi­cers.

A state­ment sent by the camp of de­tained Sen­a­tor Leila de Lima on Thurs­day said op­po­si­tion se­na­tors filed Se­nate Res­o­lu­tion No. 915 be­cause they were “gravely con­cerned” with the killings in Cebu, es­pe­cially af­ter al­le­ga­tions that po­lice of­fi­cers im­ple­ment­ing the gov­ern­ment’s war on drugs are in­volved in ex­tra-ju­di­cial killings.

“The al­le­ga­tion that po­lice of­fi­cers them­selves are be­hind some of the killings is highly dis­turb­ing,” the se­na­tors said in the res­o­lu­tion.

“As duty bear­ers, the PNP must ob­serve proper op­er­a­tional pro­ce­dures in or­der to ful­fill the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s obli­ga­tion with re­spect to hu­man rights-based polic­ing,” they added.

Bad light

Cebu City Coun­cilor Ray­mond Alvin Gar­cia, for his part, slammed the move of the op­po­si­tion coun­cilors, say­ing it will put the po­lice and Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte un­der a bad light.

He be­lieved that se­na­tors, who are mem­bers of the Lib­eral Party, con­nived with Cebu City Mayor To­mas Os­meña who was ear­lier vo­cal against some po­lice­men who he said had a hand in the killings.

“Of course, those who filed are all Lib­eral Party mem­bers. They dis­cussed this with BOPK and Tommy to em­bar­rass the po­lice and Pres­i­dent Duterte,” said Gar­cia, a mem­ber of Barug-PDP Laban.

Os­meña hasn’t re­sponded to queries from CE­BU­DAI­LYNEWS as of 6 p.m. on Thurs­day.

‘Nan­la­ban’

The se­na­tors also noted that au­thor­i­ties can only use force when it is “strictly nec­es­sary, for le­gal law en­force­ment pur­poses and called out the po­lice for us­ing the pre­text of “re­sist­ing ar­rest” as a cause of death among drug sus­pects ap­pre­hended in anti-drug op­er­a­tions.

“The re­cur­ring nar­ra­tive of ‘nan­la­ban’ – or sus­pects hav­ing re­sisted ar­rest – has been serv­ing as a wrong­ful jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for fa­tal­i­ties dur­ing the con­duct of po­lice op­er­a­tions to cur­tail pro­lif­er­a­tion of il­le­gal drugs,” the se­na­tors said.

A tally made by CEBU DAILY NEWS showed that at least 198 per­sons were killed this year. Of the num­ber, 47 were killed in sep­a­rate po­lice op­er­a­tions while the rest were gunned down by un­known as­sailants.

Most of these mur­ders re­main un­solved. Po­lice Re­gional di­rec­tor, Chief Supt. De­bold Si­nas, begged off from is­su­ing any state­ment re­gard­ing the pro­posed Se­nate in­quiry into the killings in Cebu.

“No com­ment muna kami. Wala pa ad­vise. (No com­ment from us for now. There’ s no ad­vise from our higher ups yet),” he told CDN.

In ear­lier in­ter­views, Si­nas de­nied ac­cu­sa­tions that the po­lice were be­hind many killings in Cebu and said they are will­ing to face any in­ves­ti­ga­tion since they have noth­ing to hide.

Linked

Some Cebu po­lice­men had been linked to at least three sep­a­rate shoot­ing in­ci­dents in the past three months.

Last July 30, PO1 Eu­gene Calumba was killed by the body­guard of Te­jero Barangay Coun­cilor Jessielou Cadun­gog af­ter the po­lice­man al­leged tried to am­bush the coun­cil­man’s ve­hi­cle.

Barely a week later, on Au­gust 8, SPO1 Rod­er­ick Balili was linked to the am­bush of Von Rian Tecson, an agent of the Philip­pine Drug En­force­ment Agency (PDEA-7) agent, in Car­car City.

Balili also died of two gun­shot wounds in the chest al­legedly in­flicted by Tecson as he lay dy­ing in his ve­hi­cle.

Si­nas de­nied Balili’s in­volve­ment in Tecson’s death, say­ing the po­lice­man died of ac­ci­den­tal fir­ing.

Last week, on Oct. 4, five per­sons were killed along the Trans Cen­tral High­way in Barangay Malubog in Cebu City.

Two sur­vivors claimed that po­lice­men brought them to the moun­tain vil­lage where they were shot past 3 a.m.

One of the sur­vivors was mo­men­tar­ily housed at the Arch­bishop’s Res­i­dence be­fore be­ing trans­ferred to an­other lo­ca­tion by the CHR-7.

“We are not cod­dling per­sons who are al­legedly into drugs. We are not, in any­way, ex­on­er­at­ing their sins. What we do is just to pro­vide a sanc­tu­ary to pro­tect lives be­cause life is pre­cious. The Church will al­ways be a sanc­tu­ary for those who need help,” said Cebu Arch­bishop Jose Palma as he added that the Church is al­ways open to any­one who seeks pro­tec­tion.

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