Senator Leila M. de Lima today welcomed Quezon City Police District's (QCPD) decision to stop the house-to-house drug testing in Bgy. Payatas even as she urged police authorities to put an end to the unabated spate of extrajudicial killings in the country.
De Lima said the entire police force, who is on the receiving end of criticisms following the death of 17-year-old student Kian Loyd de los Santos of Caloocan City, should start rebuilding the public's trust by fighting crime without resorting to violence.
"I welcome the effort to cease the reported on-the-spot drug test led by our police officers, but the greatest and biggest challenge for them is to regain the trust of those that they serve - the Filipino people. The only way for them to do that is by stopping their practice of 'do-it-your-own' justice through killings," she said.
De Lima, a known human rights defender, recently voiced out her concern upon learning about the house-to-house drug tests in Lupang Pangako Bgy. Payatas, Quezon City as part of the government's "massive drug clearing operation."
Reports claim that during the anti-drug operations, police reportedly roamed around different houses in Payatas and asked residents for a urine sample to confirm whether they are guilty of using illegal substances, like shabu and marijuana.
Based on reports, the QCPD has decided to stop conducting the anti-drug campaign amid criticisms from several human rights groups who deemed the process incriminatory.
Note that the past few months have seen alarming news of unjust assaults and killings of Filipino citizens by law enforcement, which tainted the reputation of the police authorities.
Just last week, the public cried foul following the deaths of more than 90 people during the three nights of coordinated "One-Time, Big-Time" anti-crime operations, the highest death toll in a single week since the former Davao mayor assumed presidency.
De Lima, former justice secretary, said the police should stop finding excuse to justify any forms of abuses.
"Just because the President promotes killings as crime preventions don't mean authorities have the freedom to kill anytime they want to. Let's not forget about due process. Let's not forget about the families being left behind by these slaughtered victims. Let's not forget about the value of life," she said.
In her dispatch from Crame No. 138, the Senator from Bicol has challenged President Duterte to order an immediate halt to all the killings as she urged him to issue a clear and categorical directive to the entire police force to "stop the killings now."
"Any other way to try to appease the growing outrage sparked by the Kian killing and other recent incidents of summary execution under the mantle of the "One Time, Big Time" operations would be insufficient as it is hypocritical. Just say it. Do it now, please," she said.
Duterte, who has unfailingly backed police-led killings, maintained he would continue his deadly war on drugs that killed an estimate of 12,000 people, up to the last day of his term in 2022.
A staunch critic of injustices happening in the country since Duterte became the country's President, De Lima vowed to protect human rights even while in detention for trumped-up drug charges fabricated by the present administration.
Source: Senate of the Philippines