The Philippines: CHR 7 probes 89 alleged extra-judicial killings

March 24, 2018

THE Commission on Human Rights 7 is investigating 89 cases of alleged extra-judicial killing committed in Central Visayas since the Duterte administration began its war on illegal drugs in July 2016, including those which may have been committed by civilians. “We have officially docketed for investigation 41 incidents of alleged extra-judicial killing (EJK) with 47 victims from July to December 2016, 43 cases with 48 victims in 2017, and five cases with five victims this year,” Commission on Human Rights (CHR) 7 special investigator Leo Villarino told SunStar Cebu last Friday. “All the cases are drug related.” Asked how they knew the cases were drug related with the assailants still unknown, he gave the example of Ronda Vice Mayor Jonnah John Ungab killed in an ambush last Feb. 19. “We consider the case of Atty. Ungab drug related because in our view, there’s a connection with the war on drugs. He was the lawyer of a high-value target (self-confessed drug lord Rolando “Kerwin” Espinosa Jr.). Kerwin’s father (Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr.) was also killed. The lawyer of Mayor Espinosa was also killed. There might be a pattern. And our initial investigation doesn’t indicate any other motive, like political or personal, so we’re now concentrating on the drug angle,” he said. In November 2016, the elder Espinosa was killed in an alleged firefight with members of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group in his jail cell in Leyte, where he had been detained for possession of drugs and unlicensed firearms.


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