AUGUST 22, 2013 — From 2010 to 2015, the number of killings averaged 35 per day. Under President Rodrigo Duterte, the number has gone down to just 20.
And yet critics, including the traditional media, have been harping on the factoid that there has been a “surge” in killings under the new administration. The Philippine Daily Inquirer has even put up a “kill list” with the premise that there has been a “surge in the killing of suspected criminals since June 30, 2016.”
Today, Senator Alan Peter Cayetano broke that illusion and presented the facts during his opening statement at the start of the Senate hearing on extrajudicial killings (EJKs).
“It is made to appear in the media and with no help by some so-called human rights advocates… (na) grabe ang patayan araw-araw. Please take note, from 2010-2015, during the Aquino administration, an average of 35 ang patay araw-araw. Ngayon po, sa ilalim ni Presidente Duterte, bente po,” he said.
(It is made to appear in the media and with no help by some so-called human rights advocates… that the killings have reached alarming levels. Please take note, from 2010-2015, during the Aquino administration, an average of 35 were killed every day. Now, under President Duterte, the average is 20).
Cayetano also pointed out that the term“extrajudicial killings” is being used loosely to discredit the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Duterte administration.
“Whether it is the Commission on Human Rights or (its) chairperson, I was hoping that they would educate the people more, and the media, para hindi sila ma-mislead na lahat ng patay ay extrajudicial killings (so that they won’t be misled into believing that all killings are extrajudicial killings),” he said.
Cayetano cited Supreme Court Justices Ruben Reyes (retired) and Mariano del Castillo who said there is a need for “a clear-cut definition of what ‘extrajudicial killings’ is. The name is a misnomer since every killing, outside death penalty, is extrajudicial.”
Cayetano said under the Operational Guidelines of Administrative Order (AO) 35, killings are defined as extrajudicial if the victim was:
- A member of, or affiliated with an organization, to include political, environmental, agrarian, labor, or similar causes; or
- An advocate of above-named causes; or
- A media practitioner; or
- Person(s) apparently mistaken or identified to be so.
Killings are also extrajudicial if:
- The victim was targeted and killed because of the actual or perceived membership, advocacy, or profession;
- The person/s responsible for the killing is a state agent or non-state agent;
- The method and circumstances of attack reveal a deliberate intent to kill
“That was very clear for the purpose of the focused mandate of AO 35 na ginawa ng Aquino administration. Common criminals and their crimes are not defined as extrajudicial killings,” Cayetano said.
He then showed a slide showing then-Justice Secretary (now Senator) Leila de Lima signing the Operational Guidelines of AO 35.
“‘Yan po ang pirma ng dating (That is the signature of) Secretary de Lima, Department of Justice IAC Chair, so alam po nila yan (so she knows this),” he said.
Cayetano said of the 1,400 killings during the Aquino administration, only 35 were classified as EJKs. He then dared human rights organizations like the New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) to investigate the killings under the past administration first before turning its attention to the Duterte administration.
He also pointed out that the Inquirer did not have a “kill list” during the Aquino administration even though more people were getting killed at the time.