THERE is no stopping the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights from conducting an inquiry into a spate of drug-related killings in the country, after majority of members of the panel agreed to proceed with the probe.
Senator Leila de Lima, chairman of the committee, on Thursday said the hearing is set for August 22 and 23 and the first to give their testimonies will be witnesses to the supposed extrajudicial killings.
“After deliberation on a motion duly seconded, the committee decided to proceed with the Senate inquiry in aid of legislation into the spate of extra-judicial killings or summary executions,” De Lima announced in an interview after the closed-door organizational meeting of the panel.
Senators Francis Pangilinan, vice chairman of the panel, Panfilo Lacson chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Order and Illegal Drugs, Risa Hontiveros, Alan Peter Cayetano and Richard Gordon were present during the meeting.
The panel will be also be inviting Philippine National Police chief Ronald “Bato” de la Rosa and other officials of the organization who could provide information and facts that would explain why there is an increase in the number of drug dealers being killed.
De Lima said the investigation will focus on the both the summary executions carried out by vigilante groups and those killings in the course of anti-drug operations of the police.
The senator said the committee wants to determine if the killings made by police were part of legitimate operations.
De Lima assured that the hearing will be conducted in a very professional manner and the rights the resource persons will be given utmost respect.
Lacson said he wants to know how PNP officials have been handling the alleged vigilante killings and if they have been able to arrest or identify the groups responsible for the summary executions.