MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) on Tuesday, March 28, said it has yet to arrive at a “definite conclusion” on extrajudicial killings (EJKs) in the Philippines being part of the war on drugs.
This is different from what CHR Commissioner Gwen Pimentel-Gana said on Monday, March 27, that there is no evidence yet that proves the EJK cases are state-sponsored. (READ: CHR's Gana says no evidence yet linking extrajudicial killings to state)
“It was therefore premature for the CHR to draw any conclusion during the March 27 interview that either exonerates or condemns any State official and the institutions they represent, as well as private individuals or groups, regarding responsibility for the killings,” the commission said in a statement.
The CHR's Task Force on EJK, which Gana also heads, however, still called for “an end to speculations as to whether all or some of the EJK cases were state-sponsored until every case is resolved.”
As of March 26, 2017, there have been over 7,000 deaths, both from legitimate police operations and vigilante-style or unexplained killings. (READ: IN NUMBERS: The Philippines' 'war on drugs’)
The CHR is investigating about 490 cases of extrajudicial killings.
“Our work at the CHR in investigating EJK cases nationwide continues, with impartiality and truth as our guiding lights,” Gana said.
She added, “At a more opportune time, we shall come out with a more comprehensive and complete report on the EJK cases referred to the task force.” – Rappler.com
Jodesz Gavilan is a writer and researcher for Rappler and its investigative arm, Newsbreak. She covers human rights and also hosts the weekly podcast Newsbreak: Beyond the Stories. She joined Rappler in 2014 after obtaining her journalism degree from the University of the Philippines.