Drilon to back Senate probe on Amnesty International report

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Senate President Pro-Tempore Franklin Drilon said he supports a colleague's initiative to investigate an Amnesty International report claiming corrupt police's hand in extrajudicial killings.

"We support this inquiry and indeed, Amnesty International is an organization which can bank on its background," Drilon told CNN Philippines' The Source.

Drilon said this did not mean they believed all the claims in the AI report, released last week, but that it was the right of Senator Chiz Escudero to inquire into the allegations made by the report.

"We're not saying that all they're saying is true," he added. "But what we're saying is that we are supporting the resolution of Senator Escudero to inquire into this and find out what they have."

Escudero filed Senate Resolution 282 on Monday, which seeks a senate inquiry into a 68-page report released by AI last week.

Related: Abusive cops are "monsters" created by government – Escudero

The report claimed that policemen were behind the killings of drug suspects. Citing confidential sources, they said that police were paid between ₱8,000 to ₱15,000 for each killing.

Over 2,000 deaths were recorded in police operations since the war on drugs was launched by President Rodrigo Duterte last July. More than 3,600 more were classified "deaths under investigation," of which 800 have been investigated based on police statistics dated January 9.

The war has since been turned over to Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency and the military following cases of police abuse.

Related: War vs. Poor: Police paid per drug killing – Amnesty International

Citing its Nobel Peace Prize win in 1977, Drilon said that AI is "prestigious organization which will not just throw its name behind any incident."

 

The Senate previously conducted a probe into the alleged extrajudicial killings, and concluded that these were not state-sanctioned.

Escudero maintained that a probe into the AI report could add to their previous findings.

Meanwhile, Committee on Justice Chairman Richard Gordon was previously reported to have dismissed the report as "hearsay."

Drilon, however, maintains that it is premature to cast judgment on the report or the outcome of a possible probe on it.

Although Drilon criticized the results of the previous Senate probe as colored by partisan politics, he is not assuming a similar outcome for the potential inquiry on the AI report.

"Again, let's see what they will come up with and let's see how the public will accept or not accept these findings," Drilon said. "I will not jump into conclusions at this state, it's too early."

Other senators backing the resolution for an inquiry into the AI report are Ralph Recto, Risa Hontiveros, and Leila de Lima.