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National

'De facto' death penalty running wild, says pro-life lawmaker

A suspect lies dead in Tarlac in what police claimed was a shootout. interaksyon.m

InterAksyon.com
The online news portal of TV5

MANILA - It seems like a fouler version of the death penalty has been in effect with the surge in the “summary execution” of alleged lawbreakers, House senior deputy minority leader and Buhay Rep.
Lito Atienza said Sunday.

“The de facto death penalty that we now have is even more repulsive than the lawful restoration of capital punishment being proposed by a number of colleagues in Congress,” Atienza,a pro-life crusader, said.

“Mostly poor and defenseless people are getting recklessly tagged as offenders, and instantly killed without the benefit of a full and fair trial,” Atienza said. 

“In fact, the convicted drug traffickers, kidnappers and murderers at the New Bilibid Prisons are far better off. They are all still alive and kicking, and they at least had their day in court,” Atienza, former three-term mayor of Manila, said.

As to the apparent victims of summary execution, Atienza said they are all dead, and they never even had the chance to enjoy their basic rights to be informed of the nature and cause of the allegations against them, and to confront the witnesses against
them.

Of 3,700 drug-related killings since July 1, the National Police accounts for less than half, with the rest tagged simply as "deaths under investigation." The PNP says all those killed in official police missions had chosen tp resist arrest or shoot it out with lawmen. The non-PNP-related deaths were variously attributed to vigilantes, drug lords wiping out rivals or their networks,

Atienza called the “salvaging” (a coined filipino term for summary execution) of alleged wrongdoers “an
absolute mockery of the Bill of Rights of the Constitution,” which guarantees that no person may be deprived of life without due process of law, and that no person shall be denied equal protection of the laws.

He challenged the Philippine National Police to swiftly suppress the summary executions, or risk getting accused of complicity.

“It is utterly lame for the authorities to simply say they have nothing to do with the murders. They are duty-bound to run after the perpetrators and bring them to justice,” Atienza said.

He described as a “test case” the Oct. 9 slaying of anticrime crusader Zenaida Luz in the Municipality of Gloria, Mindoro Oriental.

Luz, 51, was shot dead in front of her house by two motorcycle-riding assailants who turned out to be police officers -- Senior Insp. Magdaleno Pimentel Jr. and Insp. Markson Almeranez.

The officers disguised themselves in civilian clothes when they attacked Luz, and were wounded and
captured after they engaged their unsuspecting, pursuing colleagues in a shootout.

Meanwhile, Atienza warned that the daily killings “are brutalizing Filipinos everywhere, especially children.”

“We do not want our children to grow up in neighborhoods where a dehumanizing culture of death and violence pervades. Our children deserve a nurturing environment and a culture of life
where they can grow, play and learn,” he said.

Atienza welcomed Malacañang’s decision to invite the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council to send a special rapporteur to the Philippines to investigate the summary executions, calling it “a definite step in the right direction.” 

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