De Lima: Expect more witnesses to drug-related killings

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Leila de Lima, who chairs the committee on justice and human rights said more witnesses will be presented when the hearing on drug-related killings resumes on Thursday morning, September 15. 

“After 3 weeks since the committee started its inquiry, we have yet to hear the testimonies of other witnesses who can provide not only the clearer and broader picture behind these killings but also any loopholes in enforcing our laws,” De Lima said in a statement on Wednesday.

The committee conducted hearings on August 22 and 23, and agreed to the request of Senator Alan Cayetano to suspend the investigation until after the ASEAN Summit in Laos, so as not to embarass President Rodrigo Duterte. 

The senator said the justice committee, jointly with the committee on public order and dangerous drugs, will “present more witnesses” as they continue to look into “representative cases” of extrajudicial killings and summary executions that have been on the rise since the Duterte administration started its all-out campaign against illegal drugs.

At least 9 witnesses are expected to testify on 8 cases, where 11 victims are involved, De Lima said. 

“We have also invited other resource persons from the government sector, civil society groups and human rights advocates, as well as from the media. We hope to get their views and insights on this issue,” she added.



The senator – criticized by no less than President Duterte for her alleged links to the drug trade – emphasized once more that her investigation is not meant to derail police operations. 

“The Senate inquiry presumes at all times the regularity of police operations. We are here to find ways to help law enforcement agencies fulfill their mandate more efficiently through legislative action” and “without violating any human rights or disregarding the due process of the law,” she said.

Also called to testify are the heads and representatives of the following: