Human rights group form alliance vs extrajudicial killings
LAWYER Democrito Barcenas, chairman of the Free Legal Assistance Group in Central Visayas (FLAG-7), told Cebu Daily News that he will help form a group following the call of Vice President Leni Robredo to look into the spate of drug-related killings which began when Pres. Rodrigo Duterte assumed office.
A network of human rights lawyers based in Cebu is forming an alliance against alleged summary executions involving drug pushers and users.
Barcenas said they are taking this initiative since the national and local Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) “have kept silent on this basic constitutional issue.”
“While we are one in the fight against drugs, we are concerned with the growing culture of vigilantism and violence. We hope the war is not done at the expense of the innocent and the defenseless,” he said.
Robredo had earlier called for the observance of the rule of law and due process in solving the drug problem and if there is culpability, then justice requires appropriate cases be filed and that those proven to be accountable be punished.
Meanwhile, Chief Supt. Noli Taliño, chief of the Police Regional Office (PRO-7), yesterday maintained that the fallen drug personalities in the region were killed by operatives in legitimate encounters.
However, he said they welcome any investigation that may be conducted against them.
“We’re open to a probe, and we will cooperate,” Taliño said, adding that he will not tolerate abuses done by policemen, including extrajudicial killing of criminals.
Taliño assured police officers of his support as long as they do their jobs well. “If they get charged for doing their work, then I will give them a lawyer to defend them,” he said.
PRO-7 has a legal team to attend to its personnel, but in case their services are not sufficient, Taliño said he will hire private lawyers.
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