[Statement] All Filipinos casualties if impunity continues in Duterte anti-drug and anti-crime campaign -ALG

All Filipinos casualties if impunity continues  in Duterte anti-drug and anti-crime campaign  

ALG-LogoThe Alternative Law Groups (ALG) Inc. asserts that human rights and due process must be upheld  in the continuing anti-drug and anti-crime campaign under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.

As a national coalition of legal resource nongovernmental organizations that adhere to the principles  and values of alternative or developmental law, we demand greater transparency and accountability in the implementation of the government’s campaign.

We are deeply concerned with the rising incidence of extrajudicial and alleged vigilante killings,  torture and other inhumane practices related to this campaign. We believe that perpetrators  should be punished, including local government officials, law enforcers and private citizens if found  guilty, following the immediate probe of such cases under the law.

Members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) must strictly adhere to commitment to human rights. The organization itself refers to “community and human-rights based policing” and cites it as a measure of competence and professionalism; thus, those who defy it among their ranks and break  the law even as they enforce it, must be strongly sanctioned.  In addition, the silence of the PNP  regarding issues of alleged vigilante killings is deafening. The mandate of the PNP is to ensure the peace and order of society; therefore, reports of this issue should not be tolerated despite the  aggressive anti-drug and crime campaign. To further ensure that the rule of law is being upheld,  greater monitoring and efforts should be implemented and enforced in preventing and restraining  vigilante killings especially in areas where criminality and drug abuse are rampant.

Perceived gains in the accelerated apprehension of alleged drug users and criminal offenders must  not compromise the rule of law, and divert focus from the need for sustainable policy reforms to  effectively address corruption and other problems in the security sector and justice system.

Inevitably, all Filipinos are casualties when the culture of impunity persists, and especially when it is  cheered rather than condemned.

We urge the President himself to lead the country against excessive violence and abuse of power as  these do not offer long-term solutions to peace and order and instead, magnify the issue of access  to justice by all citizens, especially the poor and marginalized.

We appeal for increasing support for the advocacy and oversight initiatives of civil society in this issue. The longstanding role of nongovernment and people’s organizations as nonpartisan watchdogs of government has safeguarded and served our nation’s democratic ideals then and now.

We remain committed to this role with President Duterte’s promise of ‘change.’ In turn, we continue
to ensure fundamental human rights are promoted and protected equally with enforcing the law.

Alternative Law Groups (ALG)
Ateneo Human Rights Center (AHRC), Balay Alternative Legal Advocates for Development in Mindanaw, Inc. (BALAOD MINDANAW), Children’s Legal Bureau (CLB), Environmental Legal Assistance Center (ELAC),
EnGendeRights, Educational Research and Development Assistance Foundation (ERDA), Humanitarian Legal Assistance  Foundation (HLAF), Human Rights Unlimited (HRU), Kaisahan Tungo sa Kaunlaran ng Kanayunan at Repormang  Pansakahan (KAISAHAN), Kanlungan Center Foundation, Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center-Kasama sa  Kalikasan (LRC-KSK), Paglilingkod Batas Pangkapatiran Foundation, Inc. (PBPF), Participatory Research Organization  of Communities and Education Towards Struggle for Self-Reliance (PROCESS-PANAY), Rainbow Rights (R-Rights)  Project, Sentro ng Alternatibong Lingap Panligal (SALIGAN), Tanggapang Panligal ng Katutubong Pilipino (PANLIPI),  Tanggol Kalikasan (TK), Tebtebba Indigenous Peoples’ International Center for Policy Research and Education

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