EJK Cases Committed by Vigilante Groups, Not Ordered by President Duterte, CHR Commissioner Says

The so-called cases of EJKs (extra-judicial killings) related to the government’s intensified campaign against illegal drugs are not ordered by President Rodrigo Duterte. According to a top official from the CHR (Commission on Human Rights), these summary killings of drug suspects are not state-sponsored, but are done by some vigilante groups.

“We never said that it (EJK) was state-sponsored at all.” CHR Commissioner Gwen Pimentel-Gana said this Monday, March 26 in a forum for women and children who were victims of the campaign against drugs, noting that the PNP (Philippine National Police) has no official policy ordering their policemen to kill suspected drug users and pushers.

“There is no such finding that we can conclude that way. But what we can say is that the killings are still continuing and in an apparent vigilante manner [by] unknown assailants, so this is a police matter and they should be attending to this right away.” Gana added, who along with other CHR officials was appointed by then President Noynoy Aquino.

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According to Gana, the CHR has already investigated 490 cases of EJK cases. So far, the commission has not proven that the killings were not systematic. This means that there are no indications that the assassins were paid by policemen to kill suspected drug personalities. As a conclusion, President Duterte cannot be held liable for EJK cases.

“You see, I’m a lawyer and you have to show there is a direct causation to what happened. If there’s a policeman involved [in an extrajudicial killing], can you say Duterte ordered that, that (the policeman killed) because of what Duterte said? A lot of motivations come in. We are CHR, we have to make conclusions based on something.” She further explained.

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But apparently, this is not what anti-Duterte groups and some international media outlets believe. They are convinced that President Duterte has been motivating the police to kill drug suspects, based on his previous speeches. In a statement, the president said, “When you kill criminals, it is not a crime against humanity. The criminals have no humanity.”