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Class suit vs drug war sought

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PHILIPPINE STAR/ MICHAEL VARCAS

RELATIVES of victims killed during the previous administration’s war on drugs were encouraged by a Manila congressman to file a class suit against implementers of the anti-drug campaign.

“Convince the victims [or their surviving relatives]… to go to court as a class suit,” Manila Rep. Bienvenido M. Abante, Jr. said at Wednesday’s House of Representatives hearing on alleged extrajudicial killings (EJK) committed during the Duterte administration.

Human rights lawyer Jose Manuel Tadeo I. Diokno told the hearing that based on a 2017 year-end accomplishment report of the Office of the President, 20,322 Filipinos were killed in the anti-drugs campaign between July 1, 2016 and Nov. 27, 2017, a time when Rodrigo R. Duterte was president. 

“This is found in the 2017 year-end accomplishment report of the Office of the President and was cited in the resolution of the Supreme Court of April 3, 2018,” he told the hearing, noting that 3,967 of these people were killed during police operations while 16,355 were slain “by riding-in-tandem and other unknown persons.”

This is way above the almost 9,000 Filipinos reported killed in the war on drugs, based on the data of the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Out of the thousands, only 52 cases have been investigated by the Department of Justice (DoJ) so far, said Mr. Diokno.

“Why is that there are no charges filed against him (Mr. Duterte) when he got out of being president,” Mr. Abante said. “He’s no longer president now. If he’s accountable, therefore he must be charged.” — Kenneth Christiane L. Basilio

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