Senate eyes probe of police campaign on illegal drugs

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THE Senate may investigate the surge in the number of drug-related killings as a result of an intensified police campaign last week that included the death of a senior high school student, a lawmaker said on Sunday.

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Senator Panfilo Lacson said the investigation would be part of the agenda to be discussed during the majority caucus called by Senate President Aquilino Pimentel 3rd this Sunday evening.

Kian Loyd de los Santos, 17, was a senior high school student in Caloocan, who was gunned down by policemen in the city during their “one-time, big-time” anti-criminality operations last week.

Police linked de los Santos to the illegal drug trade and claimed that he fought back, forcing them to retaliate. A witness said, however, that the teen had pleaded for his life and before he was shot, was asked to hold a gun and run.

Lacson said there was a growing sentiment among senators to investigate the recent killings to find out if they were a result of legitimate police operations or if police were forced to come up with results because of pressure.

“There is also a growing sentiment that the investigation be referred to the committee on public order and dangerous drugs,” Lacson said in an interview aired over dzBB.

Lacson, who heads the committee, said that while he initially wanted to give the Internal Affairs Office (IAS) of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) a chance to show that they were objective and fair in their investigation, he could not ignore the request of the majority of senators to also investigate.

Lacson said he was obliged to listen and grant what the majority wanted.

Lacson said the Senate investigation would focus on finding out if the latest spike on drug-related killings were state-sponsored or not.

A total of 81 suspected drug personalities, including de los Santos, were killed in separate anti-drug operations in Manila, Bulacan and the northern Metro Manila area.

Apart from the investigation, the Senate majority bloc would also discuss the issuance of a resolution expressing the sense of the Senate on the recent killings.

Pimentel, in a separate text message said, the resolution would be finalized during the caucus Sunday night.

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