CHR alarmed by war vs drugs in Davao City

Says Mayor Baste’s declaration prompts them to investigate alleged drug-related killings in Davao City
CHR alarmed by war vs drugs in Davao City

THE Commission on Human Rights (CHR) is alarmed by Davao City Mayor Sebastian “Baste” Duterte’s “war against drugs”, as seven drug users were killed from different barangays in the city over the weekend, just a few hours after his declaration.

CHR, in a statement on Tuesday, March 26, said they expressed “grave concern” on Duterte’s recent declaration, which prompted them to investigate the alleged drug-related killings in the city.

“Principal to the pursuit of truth and justice relies on the unconditional respect for every person’s most fundamental right – the right to life itself, even if they are arrested for an alleged criminal offense,” the commission said, adding that the investigation is part of their “Constitutional mandate.”

CHR said the alleged extrajudicial killings associated with the anti-drug campaign in Davao City violate human rights,

“...these acts constitute grave violations of fundamental human rights, particularly the right to life and due process, and are in direct disregard to the principles of justice and the rule of law,” the agency said.

The commission said that the country has a problematic drug problem, which needs programs to address the issue with utmost urgency. However, they reiterated the need to follow the rule of law.

“Using extrajudicial means undermines the rule of law and destroys faith in legal systems, ultimately hindering genuine efforts to address the root causes of drug-related problems in the country,” they added.

CHR emphasized the obligation of the State as a “duty-bearer” “to respect and protect the human rights of every citizen, in particular, victims of drug-related killings.”

Following these incidents, the agency said there is a need to conduct a prompt and impartial investigation for the immediate arrest of those behind the killings.

Duterte announced during the turnover ceremony at the Davao City Police Office (DCPO) Headquarters at Camp Leonor Domingo, in San Pedro Street on Friday, March 22 that he vows to kill those who are actively involved in illegal drugs.

“Ugma, ugma dayon panghawa na mo diri, panghipos na mo sa inyong mga gamit, panghawa na mo. Kay kung di mo mohawa, kay og di mo moundang, pampatyon ta mo (Tomorrow, as immediate as tomorrow, get out of here, pack your things and get out! If you will not leave, if you will not stop, I will kill you),” Duterte said.

Not more than 24 hours after the mayor’s pronouncement, the Top 1 city-level drug user was killed in a drug buy-bust operation after he allegedly resisted arrest by the Drug Enforcement Team of Buhangin Police Station in collaboration with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency-Davao Region (PDEA-Davao).

Seized from the suspect were 110 grams of suspected shabu worth P748,000, 50 grams of alleged marijuana worth P6,000, and a .45 caliber pistol which were recovered from the crime scene.

This, following the start of the new city police director, Police Col. Richard Bad-ang’s watch.

DCPO revealed that more drug personalities have surrendered compared to those who were gunned down after resisting arrest.

Based on the official tally released by the DCPO, from March 22 to 26, 2024, at least 17 drug personalities have surrendered and around 22 cases were filed in the 21 buy-bust operations conducted by the anti-illegal drug operatives.

“Mas daghan ang ni-surrender [po] kaysa nanlaban (There are more who surrendered compared to those who resisted and fought back)," DCPO spokesperson Captain Hazel Tuazon told Davao reporters on Tuesday morning, March 26. RGL with reports from DEF

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