Press Release
December 20, 2018

Dispatch from Crame No. 438:
Sen. Leila M. de Lima's statement on the continuing rise of Death Toll in War On Drugs


My heart breaks when I read on the newspaper last Wed. (Dec. 19) about the story of Mary Ann, an 11-year-old orphan who needs to beg and sing Christmas carols so that she can save for the funeral of her mother who died last Dec. 16.

According to news reports, her mother was shot dead in the head after being mistakenly included in the drug watch list. She purportedly had an alias akin to that being used by an unidentified drug dealer in Navotas City where she lived. Mary Ann's father was reportedly killed during the early days of the government's all-out war on drugs.

Mary Ann and her mother, Heart, (the names that media gave them) are among the countless families whose lives are senselessly lost in the most murderous government campaign against illegal drugs. Their dream of a happy life has escaped them now.

I cannot, however, allow Presidential Spokesperson Panelo, to continue to poison the public's mind with the Duterte administration's oft-repeated but flawed proposition that the increasing number of deaths due to the crackdown on drugs was because suspected drug offenders have all resisted police arrest with violence.

If we are to believe the official figures being fed to us, from July 1, 2016 to Nov. 30, 2018, about 5,050 suspected drug offenders had all resisted police arrest and therefore had to be killed in the name of enforcing the anti-drug law. Obviously, the huge casualties speak a lot on the Philippine National Police's low regard to human rights.

Forget about the right of any individuals, including suspected offenders, to basic presumption of innocence until proven guilty. Forget about their right to due process itself enshrined under our Constitution. That is how our policemen think.

I dare Mr. Panelo to tell that to Mary Ann and to the thousands of orphans and widows of EJKs, whose prospects of a happy and simple life have been destroyed due to this administration's lust for blood and utter lack of humanity. The suffering of these families of the EJK victims is beyond measure.

I call on my colleagues in the public sector and human rights community to continue to press the Duterte administration to recognize the immense damages wrought by its all-out war on drugs on Filipino families, especially women and children.

This murderous war on drugs must end, and we should not relent on our efforts until the death toll stops and those responsible are made accountable before the bar of justice.

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