Zubiri: Duterte's death squad like EJK

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 3) — Senate Majority Leader Migz Zubiri said President Rodrigo Duterte's proposal to create a death squad against rebels is similar to extrajudicial killings.

"I'm not in favor of that because that's not the job of the military and the police. That is similar to an extrajudicial killing," Zubiri told CNN Philippines' The Source on Monday. "We are not in the business of having assassination squads. We are supposed to be a civilized government."

However, Zubiri chalked up Duterte's proposal to his being "passionate" whenever talking about criminality.

"I understand the position of the President on this. He's probably speaking from sheer frustration," Zubiri said.

 

Duterte said last week he wants to create his own death squad to match the Sparrow Unit of the communist New People's Army. This has been hit by opposition lawmakers and rights groups.

"[International humanitarian law] requires States to use only regular armed forces under strict military discipline thus this strictly prohibits death squads under all circumstances," Commission on Human Rights chairperson Chito Gascon said.

While saying Duterte's proposal for a death squad is only an idea, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo also denied that this would be a violation of due process.

"We have a situation here where there is a group of men who will kill with impunity. What do you want the state to do? Just sit idle and watch? We cannot do that. It's the duty of the state to protect its citizens," Panelo said.

Despite drawing flak, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said they would study Duterte's proposal "very closely."

There are pending communications against Duterte before the International Criminal Court, which has began a preliminary examination on allegations that the President has committed crimes against humanity in the course of his drug war, which has taken the lives of nearly 5,000 drug suspects.

CNN Philippines' Xave Gregorio and David Santos contributed to this report.