• Wanted: Courts for ‘collateral’ victims

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    The Supreme Court (SC) has been asked to create special courts to handle cases involving innocent victims in connection with the war on illegal drugs of President Rodrigo Duterte.

    This was contained in the one-page letter to Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno by the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC).

    In particular, the VACC pleaded for assignment of courts to specifically handle cases of killings of victims who were collateral damages of anti-narcotics operations by authorities.

    The VACC sought to give immediate justice to the victims of the anti-drug war of the Duterte administration.

    VACC founding chairman Dante Jimenez cited the rising number of innocent victims in the government’s campaign against illegal drugs.

    “Unfortunate killings of innocent victims of crossfires, mistaken identity and the like during the process of police operations [have been reported],” he said.

    The VACC also asked the High acourt to monitor closely the handling of such cases and make sure they are resolved in accordance with the period prescribed by court rules.

    In the meantime, the anti-crime group also pleaded with the President to create special investigation teams to probe cases of collateral victims of authorities in the war on illegal drugs.

    The investigation teams, according to the VACC, should include the Caloocan City (Metro Manila) incident where five teenagers were killed as masked gunmen chased and fired shots at a suspected drug dealer.

    During a probe of the incident, it was found that one of the victims had a record of drug offenses, while the other four minors had no criminal record.

    Senator Panfilo Lacson proposed that the government must give compensation to the families of collateral victims of the anti-narcotics operations of authorities.

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