By Ernie Reyes
MANILA — Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima warned Filipino voters
against candidates belonging or allied to what she called as “criminal
organization” responsible for the state-sponsored killings and other
heinous crimes in the country.
De Lima, a social justice and human rights champion, stressed that
electing officials, who have penchant for killings and have no qualms
seeing people suffer, again to national office in the 2022 polls, is
“the biggest mistake and greatest sin we can do to our nation.”
“Kailangan nang maka-move on ng ating bayan mula sa mapang-abusong
Chief Executive na noon ay nakamit ang boto ng mamamayan sa
pamamagitan ng mga matatamis na pangakong ngayon ay pakong-pako na,”
she said in her Dispatch from Crame No. 1176.
“Let this breed of outgoing leaders proceed to be ex-leaders, along
with their penchant for extrajudicial killings and of accumulating
ill-gotten gains at the expense of our people’s continued suffering,”
In urging the public to reject these candidates, De Lima cited
Rappler’s current investigative series, reporting on the affidavit
submitted by former Davao policeman and self-confessed Davao Death
Squad (DDS) hitman Arturo Lascañas to the International Criminal
Court, which she deemed to be “as explosive as any reportage can get.”
Lascañas was a local police intelligence operative and investigator
for more than 34 years and a top member of the DDS for more than two
The Rappler series, which began on Nov. 10, walks people through
Lascañas’s story of how he and the DDS executed hundreds of victims
during Duterte’s reign as Mayor of Davao City from 1988 up to 2015,
further describing Lascañas’s account of how Duterte partnered with
Davao drug lords, including Michael Yang.
De Lima recalled how Rappler reporters also put a crucial twist to the
details contained in Lascañas’s affidavit by painstakingly
corroborating and cross-referencing it to various materials on the
DDS, both published and unpublished.
These materials, she shared, include records of the CHR investigation
into the DDS which she led in 2009, her own personal notes thereon,
records of Edgardo Matobato’s 2016 Senate testimony during the Justice
Committee hearing she conducted, Matobato’s Ombudsman affidavit, and
other sundry information from various sources.
“It is important that every Filipino voter reads this series at least
once, especially before going to the polls in May 2022, so that they
will not vote again to office individuals belonging or allied to what
is basically a criminal organization responsible for the most heinous
crimes committed by government officials under the cover of public
office and government authority,” De Lima said.
“Let them face the wrath of justice and suffer the consequences of
their atrocious deeds,” she added.
It may be recalled that Former ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda filed the
request to investigate Duterte’s signature anti-narcotics campaign,
including the extrajudicial killings in Davao linked to the DDS, just
before her retirement in June, purporting that “state actors,
primarily members of the Philippine security forces, killed thousands
of suspected drug users and other civilians during official law
Significantly, De Lima was the very first to sound the alarm on EJKs
being committed in the guise of Duterte’s drug war, via her privilege
speeches and Proposed Senate Resolution (PSR) No. 9, directing the
Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights to investigate the
rampant extrajudicial killings and summary executions of suspected
criminals, which she filed last July 2016.
De Lima also submitted a communication to the Office of the Special
Prosecutor of ICC last October 2017. (ai/mtvn)