Press Releases

Stop Extra Judicial Killings! Uphold Human Rights!

We, the Caucus of Development NGO Networks (CODE-NGO), the largest network of development civil society organizations (CSOs) in the Philippines, call for a stop to extra-judicial killings and for the upholding of human rights in the government’s campaign against illegal drugs.

We have declared in our “Covenant on Philippine Development” that the country’s development is predicated on, among others, safeguarding the fundamental freedoms and human rights of all as enshrined in the Philippine Constitution, the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and all other international laws and legal instruments to which the Philippine Government is signatory to.

We are deeply disturbed by the increasing number of extra-judicial and vigilante killings, which has now resulted in 3,000 deaths in just three (3) months since the administration of President Duterte started its war against illegal drugs. We believe that crime suspects should be arrested, prosecuted and, if found guilty, imprisoned as provided under our laws – whether police officers, government officials or private citizens. Many of those murdered were poor, and while most were reported to have used or sold drugs, they were denied due process. Worse, there are also many innocents killed, either as “collateral damage” or as cases of “mistaken identity”.

Among these innocents killed in a supposed police buy-bust operation was Jefferson Bunuan, a 20-year old scholar of Kaibigan sa Ermita Outreach Foundation Inc. (KEOFI), an organization affiliated to CODE-NGO as it is a member of the National Council for Social Development (NCSD). Jefferson was a sponsored child of KEOFI for 11 years, a Criminology student who dreamt of becoming a police officer, and a volunteer of the Philippine National Police (PNP)’s “Lambat Sibat” crime prevention program. Last July 18, 2016 in Sta. Ana, Manila, he was killed by the police reportedly in his sleep, together with a cousin in the house of a “suspected drug pusher”, the target of police operations that night.

Instead of creating an environment of peace and security, these incidents sow fear among the citizens and create a culture of impunity among the perpetrators, thus making redress and justice inaccessible to the aggrieved families.

We call on the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) to uphold human rights and due process in the government’s campaign against illegal drugs and to urgently conduct full investigations into the deaths of “suspected drug personalities” during police operations and those done by vigilantes. We further call on them to ensure that those who are involved in the illegal drug trade, drug-related crimes, and those involved in bribery and corruption of public officials and institutions to perpetuate these illegal acts are dealt with the full force of our laws.

We call on the House of Representatives and the Senate to focus their probes in aid of legislation on bringing justice to the victims of extra judicial killings, and on studying the root causes of the country’s drug problem to be able to provide appropriate responses to curtail the supply and demand for illegal drugs, including opportunities for rehabilitation, education and livelihood to renewed victims of drug use and trade.

We urge President Rodrigo R. Duterte to take leadership against the abuse of power of those in authority and to ensure justice for all citizens, especially the poor and marginalized.

Finally, we call on all Filipinos to fight for the value and sacredness of each human life, and the protection of all human rights of all people.

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Caucus of Development NGO Networks

25th General Assembly

GA Resolution No. 25 – 09 

Sponsoring MN: National Council of Social Development

Resolution calling the government to stop extra judicial killings and uphold human rights in the government’s campaign against illegal drugs.

WHEREAS, as declared in our “Covenant on Philippine Development”, the country’s development is predicated on, among others, safeguarding the fundamental freedoms and human rights of all as enshrined in the Philippine Constitution, the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and other international laws and legal instruments to which the Philippine Government is a signatory to;

WHEREAS, we are deeply disturbed by the increasing number of extra-judicial and vigilante killings, which has now resulted in 4,800 deaths in just five months since the administration of President Duterte started its war against illegal drugs. We believe that crime suspects should be arrested, prosecuted and, if found guilty, imprisoned as provided under our laws – whether police officers, government officials or private citizens. Many of those murdered were poor, and while most were alleged to have used or sold drugs, they were denied due process. Worse, there are also many innocents killed, either as “collateral damage” or as cases of “mistaken identity”.

WHEREAS, among these innocents killed in a supposed police buy-bust operation was Jefferson Bunuan, a 20-year old scholar of Kaibigan sa Ermita Outreach Foundation Inc. (KEOFI), an organization affiliated to CODE-NGO as it is a member of the National Council for Social Development (NCSD). Jefferson was a sponsored child of KEOFI for 11 years, a Criminology student who dreamt of becoming a police officer, and a volunteer of the Philippine National Police (PNP)’s “Lambat Sibat” crime prevention program. Last July 18, 2016 in Sta. Ana, Manila, he was killed by the police reportedly in his sleep, together with a cousin in the house of a “suspected drug pusher”, the target of police operations that night.

WHEREAS, instead of creating an environment of peace and security, these incidents sow fear among the citizens and create a culture of impunity among the perpetrators, thus making redress and justice inaccessible to the aggrieved families.

WHEREAS,    the culture of impunity fosters the culture of violence that is deeply destructive of our development, of our country and of our people. Instead of rehabilitating persons who committed crimes, the culture of violence reigns affecting mostly the weak and the vulnerable sector of our society.

NOW, THEREFORE, the CODE-NGO General Assembly resolves to:

  • Call for a stop to extra-judicial killings and for the upholding of human rights in the government’s campaign against illegal drugs;
  • Call on the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) to uphold human rights and due process in the government’s campaign against illegal drugs and to urgently conduct full investigations into the deaths of “suspected drug personalities” during police operations and those done by vigilantes. We further call on them to ensure that those who are involved in the illegal drug trade, drug-related crimes, and those involved in bribery and corruption of public officials and institutions to perpetuate these illegal acts are dealt with the full force of our laws;
  • Call on the House of Representatives and the Senate to focus their probes in aid of legislation on bringing justice to the victims of extra judicial killings, and on studying the root causes of the country’s drug problem to be able to provide appropriate responses to curtail the supply and demand for illegal drugs, including opportunities for rehabilitation, education and livelihood to renewed victims of drug use and trade;
  • Call on the Department of Social Welfare and Development to respond to the needs of children and families affected by the “war on drugs”;
  • Call on the human rights lawyer to continue being vigilance in protecting the rights of the people,
  • Call to strengthen the Commission on Human Rights, as an independent body; and
  • Urge President Rodrigo R. Duterte to take leadership against the abuse of power of those in authority and to ensure human rights justice for all citizens, especially the poor and marginalized.

Approved this 25th day of November, 2016 at Sequoia Hotel, Quezon City, Philippines.