A group of lawyers asked the Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday to order pertinent government agencies to conduct a thorough investigation of all killings related to President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on illegal drugs.
The 26-page petition filed by Evalyn Ursua asked the tribunal to intervene and issue a writ of continuing mandamus mandating the concerned government agencies to prevent extra-judicial killings.
Ursua was the lawyer of Subic rape victim Nicole. The latter dismissed Ursua as her lawyer when she went to the US after the conviction of her rapist, Lance Corporal Daniel Smith.
The other petitioners were Mary Jane Real, Maria Lulu Reyes, Joan Dymphna Saniel and Anna May Baquirin. All of the women are lawyers except Baquirin.
Named respondents in the petition were Philippine National Police chief Ronald dela Rosa, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre 2nd and Commission on Human Rights Chairman Chito Gascon.
The petitioners said the high court’s action will “ensure that respondents perform their ministerial duties” as spelled out in the 1987 Constitution and various international treaties on human rights which the Philippines had ratified.
They added that the respondents failed to perform their constitutional duty to prevent violations of the right to life and to investigate and prosecute such violations.
“Respondents should be directed, through a writ of continuing mandamus, to perform their duties under the law, to take adequate appropriate measures, and to report to the Honorable Court on the actions and measures taken,” they said.
“Public interest would be served by compelling prompt, thorough, impartial, independent, and transparent official inquiry into the trail of deaths, reportedly related to the government’s anti-illegal drug operations. Respondents must be called upon to perform their duties of conducting investigations and prosecuting the perpetrators of killings, if warranted,” they added.