CALD Resolution No. 1 S. 2017

February 27, 2017 3:48 am Published by Leave your thoughts

CALD resolution expressing alarm on ‘creeping authoritarianism’ in the Philippines as a consequence of its continuing war on drugs

The Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats (CALD):

Aware that from 1 July 2016 to 31 January 2017, data from the Philippine National Police indicate that 7080 were killed in the country’s war on drugs; 2555 of which were killed in police operations, while the rest were vigilante-style or unexplained killings;

Mindful that on 22 August 2016, then Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights Leila de Lima, spearheaded an investigation of the extra- judicial killings of drug suspects under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte;

Aware that as a result of this investigation, allies of President Duterte in the Senate voted to remove Senator de Lima as chairperson of the above-mentioned Senate body on 19 September 2016;

Cognizant that in March 2009, then Chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights de Lima launched a probe on the “Davao Death Squad”, a vigilante group allegedly responsible for the deaths of drug suspects and criminals in Davao, a city in Mindanao where Duterte served as mayor for 22 years;

Mindful that when de Lima was appointed as Secretary (Minister) of Justice in June 2012, she ordered the National Bureau of Investigation, which was under her department, to probe the alleged death squad, based on the finding of the Commission on Human Rights that “there was a systematic practice of extrajudicial killings” in Davao.

Aware that on 22 February 2017, a regional trial court in the Philippines issued a warrant of arrest against Senator Lima on charges that she extorted money from inmates operating a drug syndicate in the national penitentiary when she was still Secretary of Justice in 2012;

Concerned that the drug charges against Senator de Lima could be part of the Duterte administration’s political vendetta against her, given her staunch opposition to extra-judicial killings and her attempts to investigate Duterte when she was still Chairperson of Commission on Human Rights, Secretary of Justice, and Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights;

Worried that this arrest of a staunch government critic, together with attacks on independent media and attempts to bolster the position of the presidency by proposing to revise the constitution and advancing historical revisionism, could be warning signs of ‘creeping authoritarianism’ in the Philippines.

Hereby:

Reaffirms the stance it took on extra-judicial killings, as stated in CALD Resolution No. 4, S. 2016, that “while the campaign against illegal drugs and criminality is part of the police power of the state and a noteworthy goal of any government, law enforcement efforts should always remain consistent with the rule of law and the country’s human rights obligations.”

Expresses strong concerns on the arrest and detention of Senator de Lima based solely on conflicting testimonies of criminals who were subsequently absolved of drug charges after they agreed to be prosecution witnesses, and calls for the immediate review of the charges against Senator de Lima;

Urges Filipinos and the international community to remain vigilant against ‘creeping authoritarianism’ in the Philippines, and to condemn continuing violations of fundamental human rights and the rule of law, and disregard of democratic institutions and processes; and

Expresses solidarity with Filipino liberals and democrats in their continuing fight to preserve the gains of the 1986 people power revolution, whose anniversary we also celebrate today.

For the Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats:

Abhisit Vejjajiva
Chairperson
Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats

Kiat Sittheeamorn
Secretary General
Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats

25 February 2017

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This post was written by CALD

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The Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats (CALD) was inaugurated in Bangkok in 1993, with the support of then Thai Prime Minister Chuan Leekpai and South Korea’s Kim Dae-Jung. CALD, which offers a unique platform for dialogue and cooperation, is the only regional alliance of liberal and democratic political parties in Asia.
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