Press Release
July 4, 2018

Why did we allow Duterte to do this to our country? - Sen. Leila M. de Lima's Statement on the Killing Spree

There is a killing spree on mayors. The path to this kind of impunity has been paved with the summary execution of thousands of poor Filipinos in Duterte's drug war. Ordered and goaded by Duterte, the violence of the drug war has long ago spilled over to the rest of society. It has claimed priests, lawyers, prosecutors, mayors, journalists, and labor, peasant, IP, and community leaders.

A week after Duterte told vice-mayors who want to be mayor to save on election expenses by just killing the incumbent mayor, and just a day after the shooting of Tanauan Mayor Antonio Halili, another mayor is gunned down.

Like in Halili's case, Malacañang again promised a thorough investigation of the killing of Mayor Ferdinand Bote, even while the President goaded the killing of mayors, and even justified the shooting of Halili by saying he was involved in drugs.

In the case of Halili, a police investigation would be fruitless since the Chief Executive himself had already justified his killing and excused the murder with his sweeping declaration that Halili was involved in drugs. How can the police still investigate when the President has already sided with the assassin? How can there still be justice if the boss of the PNP had already justified the act of the murderer? Will Mayor Bote's killing be brushed aside as just another case of a "justified" murder?

Once Duterte was allowed to justify summary executions in the drug war against the poor, murder became justifiable in this country. The question we should therefore ask is not what is happening to our country, but why did we allow Duterte to do this to our country?

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