Senate to probe drug-related killings

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The Senate will open its investigation of drug-related killings on Thursday and senators will invite officials of the Philippine National Police, Department of Justice and National Bureau of Investigation.

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Fourteen senators signed a resolution condemning the killing of 17-year-old Kian de los Santos and calling for a Senate investigation on the recent spate of drug-related killings.

FINAL FAREWELL Schoolmates of Kian Lloyd Delos Santos cry as they view his remains at the Our Lady of Lourdes College in Valenzuela City. De los Santos will be buried on Sunday. PHOTO BY ROGER RAÑADA

To be invited are PNP chief Ronald de la Rosa, Criminal Investigation and Detection Group director Roel Obusan, Metro Manila Police chief Oscar Albayalde, the head of the PNP-Internal Affairs Service Inspector General Alfegar Triambulo and members of the Caloocan Police involved in the killing.

The committee on public order and dangerous drugs headed by Sen. Panfilo Lacson will also invite Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre 2nd, National Bureau of Investigation Director Dante Gierran, and the village officials of Barangay 160 in Caloocan City.

Witnesses who are under the protective custody of Sen. Risa Hontiveros will also be presented, as well as Saldy delos Santos, the father of Kian.

The resolution expressing the sense of the Senate to condemn the killing of de los Santos and direct the appropriate Senate committee to conduct an inquiry in aid of legislation to determine the accountability of the police in the unjustified deaths in the conduct of the anti-drug campaign will be adopted by the chamber Tuesday.

“Similar incidents require deeper scrutiny to ensure the accountability of the PNP and its officers as they implement the campaign against illegal drugs,” the senators stated in the resolution.

They said the PNP Internal Affairs Service (IAS) has moved sluggishly in investigating the cases and has found mitigating circumstances even where not seemingly justified.

“While government institutions that are tasked with leading the campaign against illegal drugs must be fully empowered to undertake their responsibilities, they should, with equal fervor, be held accountable to the Filipino people in the conduct of this campaign,” the senators said in their resolution.

Sen. Francis Pangilinan said the Senate should continue to serve as the check and balance especially if there are abuses committed on the part of government.

Waste of time

The Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) however said the planned Senate investigation is not needed.

“I think it’s a waste of time for the Senate to do all these things. They are not the investigator of the people or the government,” Jimenez said.

He said the chamber should focus on passing the measure that seeks to reinstate death penalty.

There are several bills filed by Senators Senators Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito, Sherwin Gatchalian, Lacson and Pacquiao seeking to reinstate death penalty that remain pending before the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights chaired by Sen. Richard Gordon.

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