The United Nations special rapporteur Agnes Callamard said Friday the Philippines’ review of deadly anti-narcotics operations should cover people who allegedly incited the killings of more than 5,000 drug suspects.
Callamard, a critic of President Rodrigo Duterte’s signature policy, told the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines there should be “no limit on who shall be included in that review, from the President to police commissioners below and in between.”
“Is the review panel prepared to tackle incitement? Is the review panel prepared to tackle those who have repeatedly said ‘I have your back’ to the killers in uniform, to the serial killers in uniform?” she added.
“The review panel must be prepared to integrate into its review [of] the systems, the leadership at the highest level that has allowed for that policy.”
Malacañang has repeatedly said deaths linked to the drug war were neither state-initiated nor sponsored despite observations that Duterte’s rhetoric might have incited violence against drug suspects.
Meanwhile, Global watchdog Human Rights Watch on Friday called on the Senate to conduct a more “expansive and serious” investigation on the spate of killings in the country, which they said would cover Philippine National Police’s alleged complicity in the incidents.
“What we need to see is an honest to goodness accounting of the PNP’s conduct in the past 4 years, specifically related to the killings,” Carlos Conde, Asia researcher of HRW, told ANC.
Over 6,000 people died from the government’s brutal campaign against illegal drugs, Conde said.
The Senate committees on justice and public order on Thursday conducted a joint hearing on the country’s unresolved killings, which include lawyers, health workers, and priests.
While HRW welcomed the upper House’s efforts in investigating the incidents, Conde said it was long overdue.
“They should have done this a long time ago. They should have been more resilient and robust in response to the killings and all the cases where the police are implicated,” he said.
As President Duterte has less than two years left in his term, Conde believed the senators were “trying to repair whatever damage their support for Duterte may have caused them.”
“Also the fact that the violations of human rights and the egregiousness of atrocities that has been committed in the past 4 years, and in fact, even more recently, I think is much too serious to ignore,” he said.
Conde also opposed the proposal of newly appointed National Police Commission commissioner Vitaliano Aguirre II of placing the Internal Affairs Service and Scene of the Crime Operation under the latter’s agency.
“With due respect to him, he was the cheerleader of the… drug war killings in the beginning. So, he doesn’t have the credibility to now say IAS and SOCO should be under Napolcom,” he said.