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Lagman: ‘Duterte encouraged EJKs’

By Mavic Conde

The grim news of a mother and son who were murdered by a law enforcer in Tarlac once again underlines the contribution of President Rodrigo Duterte’s tolerance for violence in these extrajudicial killings (EJKs).

“No less than President Rodrigo Duterte himself in many recorded utterances has encouraged and condoned EJKs,” Albay 1st District Rep. Edcel Lagman said in a news release.

According to him, this culture of violence wittingly created by the Duterte administration has mocked due process and the rule of law.

“Whatever are the motives and whoever are the assailants, the rampant and brazen killings of lawyers, media practitioners, politicians, physicians, and ordinary citizens are the result of this culture,” he said.

Likewise, a statement from Human Rights Watch (HRW) today as reported national dailies said that “As with many incidents of recent police violence, the killing by [Senior Master Sergeant Jonel] Nuezca of Sonya Gregorio and her son Frank was brazen and underscores the impunity that prevails in the Philippines.”

“It took place in the context of an enabling environment for police violence that President Duterte himself has encouraged,” according to the HRW, which the report cited.

Moreover, Lagman said that on Dec. 3, 2020, the President himself stated without ambiguity and remorse that he does not care about human rights and that, “The game is killing…I say to the human rights (defenders), I don’t give a shit with you. My order is still the same.”

Vice President Leni Robredo also said via a statement on Monday, Dec. 21 that the incident is part of a “larger architecture of impunity,” contrary to the statement of key government officials that it was an isolated case.

According to World Population Review, the Philippines is rank 3 among the countries world wide with the most police killings, recording 3,451 or a rate of 322.50 per 10 million population in 2020.

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