THE Commission on Human Rights expressed alarm on Wednesday over what it described as the growing vigilantism in the country as a result of the murders allegedly being committed by the police in its war on drugs.
“Actually, you are sending a message to our citizenry that it’s okay to kill, but that is not right because we have a justice system,” CHR Commissioner Leah Armamento said.
The police have admitted killing several dozen suspected drug dealers and users in the first four days after President Roderigo Duterte assumed office.
The police claim the suspects were killed for resisting arrest and shooting at them, but have not provided evidence that they have been acting in self-defense.
The police are accused of having killed 68 drug pushers from Jan. 1 to June 15 this year.
On July 11, Police Chief Rolando Dela Rosa criticized calls for a Senate investigation of the police campaign against crime, saying that would dampen the morale of his men.
Various groups have criticized the PNP for what they claim as the rising incidence of extra-judicial killings.
But Solicitor General Jose Calida has defended the killings, saying the number of people killed in the campaign against crime was “not enough.”
The New York-based rights group Human Rights Watch has appealed for a speedy probe into the police killings.
“A credible and independent inquiry into the alarming increase in police killings is urgently needed, and the findings made public,” Phelim Kine, HRW Asia Deputy Director, said in a statement.