MANILA, Philippines – Buhay Representative Lito Atienza likened the apparent summary executions happening under the government’s war on drugs to the abuses committed during Martial Law.
On Wednesday, August 17, House Minority Leader Danilo Suarez and his senior deputy Atienza said that they are fully supporting President Rodrigo Duterte’s “unorthodox, Machiavellian” anti-illegal drugs campaign. (READ: Suarez on Duterte’s war on drugs: ‘End justifies the means’)
“‘Yung nangyayaring summary killings, I cannot agree with that in the same manner that I rejected Martial Law because of that (abuses). ‘Yung mga abuso sa Martial Law at abuso rito ay pareho,” said Atienza.
(I cannot agree with the summary killings in the same manner that I rejected Martial Law because of the abuses. The abuses under Martial Law and the abuses happening now are the same.)
“Abuse is happening every day and similar to the dark days of Martial Law, walang kalaban-laban kung sino ang sinisuspect (the suspects are defenseless),” he added.
Atienza also expressed his frustration at the lack of a majority of Filipinos protesting against the extrajudicial killings of suspected drug personalities. (READ: War on drugs: While you were sleeping)
“‘Di ko maintindihan kung bakit onti ang nagsasalita laban dito sa abusong ito. ‘Di ako naniniwala na nakaposas tapos lumalaban ang suspect. ‘Di ako naniniwala dun sa binalot ng masking tape ay lumalaban. Paano lumaban ‘yung nilalang na ‘yun?” questioned the lawmaker.
Atienza added that he would join the congressional probe into the recent spate of killings of drug personalities.
Duterte has vowed to suppress drugs and crime within 3 to 6 months, prompting the Philippine National Police (PNP) to intensify its anti-illegal drugs campaign.
From July 1 to August 15, at least 612 alleged drug personalities were killed in encounters with the police while 8,623 have been arrested across the Philippines.
Independent groups have tallied more than 100 dead in apparent extrajudicial killings around the country as well. (READ: Kids unsafe in society that condones violence – female LP lawmakers)
The number of drug pushers and users who have surrendered has reached 576,176, leaving the government struggling with how to rehabilitate them given a lack of facilities.