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Leila: Reuters’ drug war report ‘real’

Detained Sen. Leila de Lima yesterday rallied behind the London-based news service Reuters’ special report disclosing the killings in administration’s war on drugs as “stage-managed.”
“I’m more than morally convinced that the ongoing human carnage targeting mostly the poor is state-sponsored as incited by bloodthirsty head of state. Ooops...No, I’m not just more than morally convinced. Without any reservations, I know ‘it’s state-sponsored,’” she said in her latest handwritten note released to the media.
While the sources of the information in said report, a former police intelligence officer and an active police commander, refused to be identified, de Lima said there’s no reason to doubt the veracity of their claims given the similarity in the testimonies earlier made by Edgard Matobato and retired SPO3 Arthur Lascañas.
Matobato and Lascañas, both self-confessed hitmen and alleged former members of the so-called Davao Death Squad (DDS), claimed to have been rewarded with cash for every killing they made on alleged criminals in Davao City at the time when President Duterte was still its city mayor.
“The cash rewards for the assailants and the planting of handguns and drugs on the slain suspects are the very characteristics of the nightmare called DDS. The DDS is in monstrous form, has simply been transported from a local kingdom to the national sphere. It’s now a nationwide plague,” the senator said.
“The Reuters story, citing sources purporting to be police officers who are in-the-know about the anti-drug operations, is not a fiction. It’s real. It’s the ugly head and disturbing truth of what has become of the PNP (Philippine National Police),” de Lima said.
“Something tells me that a significant number of PNP officers and personnel are as equally shaken and appalled by the tide of lawlessness that has swept their ranks. I say that they and they alone can save their beloved institution from further infamy,” she added.
The senator described as a very significant and relieving development the reported Social Weather Station survey showing an 11-point drop in the public satisfaction rating on Duterte administration’s war on drugs.
“Those who advocate for, encourage and effectuate this extreme solution distort people’s sense of right and wrong and destroy the very moral fabric of our society. To me, they are the real enemies of the people. Let us reject and fight them. Right, and not power, is might,” de Lima added.
A human rights advocate, the de Lima reiterated that summary killing of suspected drug offenders, irrespective of their guilt, is absolutely wrong.
“Hence, (it’s) unacceptable. It is against the laws of men and of God,” she said.
But the rising statistics of innocents or those “collateral damage” also being killed by roving so-called death squads or vigilante groups, makes the extrajudicial killing phenomenon much more reprehensible, de Lima said.

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