The Alternative Law Groups (ALG) Inc. asserts that human rights and due process must be upheld in the continuing anti-drug and anti-crime campaign under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.
As a national coalition of legal resource nongovernmental organizations that adhere to the principles and values of alternative or developmental law, we demand greater transparency and accountability in the implementation of the government’s campaign.
We are deeply concerned with the rising incidence of extrajudicial and alleged vigilante killings, torture and other inhumane practices related to this campaign. We believe that perpetrators should be punished, including local government officials, law enforcers and private citizens if found guilty, following the immediate probe of such cases under the law.
Members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) must strictly adhere to commitment to human rights. The organization itself refers to “community and human-rights based policing” and cites it as a measure of competence and professionalism; thus, those who defy it among their ranks and break the law even as they enforce it, must be strongly sanctioned. In addition, the silence of the PNP regarding issues of alleged vigilante killings is deafening. The mandate of the PNP is to ensure the peace and order of society; therefore, reports of this issue should not be tolerated despite the aggressive anti-drug and crime campaign. To further ensure that the rule of law is being upheld, greater monitoring and efforts should be implemented and enforced in preventing and restraining vigilante killings especially in areas where criminality and drug abuse are rampant.
Perceived gains in the accelerated apprehension of alleged drug users and criminal offenders must not compromise the rule of law, and divert focus from the need for sustainable policy reforms to effectively address corruption and other problems in the security sector and justice system.
Inevitably, all Filipinos are casualties when the culture of impunity persists, and especially when it is cheered rather than condemned.
We urge the President himself to lead the country against excessive violence and abuse of power as these do not offer long-term solutions to peace and order and instead, magnify the issue of access to justice by all citizens, especially the poor and marginalized.
We appeal for increasing support for the advocacy and oversight initiatives of civil society in this issue. The longstanding role of nongovernment and people’s organizations as nonpartisan watchdogs of government has safeguarded and served our nation’s democratic ideals then and now.
We remain committed to this role with President Duterte’s promise of ‘change.’ In turn, we continue to ensure fundamental human rights are promoted and protected equally with enforcing the law.
Date: July 7, 2020