Extra-judicial killings (EJK), and human rights violations in a society show a deeper reality: that of failure of institutions, a key Visayas human rights advocate bemoaned.
Speaking during the advance celebration of International Human Rights Day, December 9, Commission of Human Rights (CHR) officer in charge for Negros Oriental Dr. Jess CaÃ±ete cites the issue of congested jails and detention centers as an example.
In the congestion of jails and detention centers, the problem goes back to our institutions, CaÃ±ete said.
Speaking at the Kapihan sa PIA, CaÃ±ete stressed that human rights are immutable, even for criminals who are awaiting final judgment.
The delays in hearing leading to slow resolution of cases to allegations of bribery in the justice system are but just some of the few examples of how human rights are being denied from persons who should be treated as innocent until proven guilty.
As to EJKs, which the CHR admitted is also an issue in Central Visayas, the killings of alleged criminals without due process as the due deliberations in court, done possibly by state operatives or in the acquiescence of law enforcement officers as well as the deliberate non-initiation of investigations, are possible cases, according to Dr. CaÃ±ete.
Narrowing his topic on the government drive against drug personalities, the CHR admits that Oplan Tokhang is not a human rights violation per se.
This too as CaÃ±ete admitted that drug problem in the country has gone off and even acknowledges the presidential mandate to law enforcers to deal with the problem.
Along this, the Philippine National Police implemented Oplan Double barrel and Oplan Double Barrel Alpha, in coordination with local governments to seek out these drug personalities involved.
In Bohol for example, around 32,000 personalities have surrendered to authorities while over a thousand have been arrested in buy-busts, raids or caught in flagrante delicto for their illegal activities.
The similar operations, 22 alleged drug personalities were killed while attempting to fight it out with police and military operatives.
As Camp Dagohoy tagged some of these killings in their active deaths under investigations folders, the CHR still looks up to these cases as potential EJKs.
When authorities and even the community use â€œgetting implicated in drugs as a basis for killings,â€ the operation has become malicious, he said of the Tokhang, fully understanding that his position could draw ire.
â€œPeople should understand that it is our job and obligation in government to nurture human rights without any other excuse whatsoever,â€ he emphasized at the radio forum on facebook live and on delayed broadcast.
He added that Negros Oriental CHR looks at 17 of these potential EJKs and are investigating 6 cases relative to Tokhang.
In Bohol, CHR head Alfonso Bayocot Jr reports 5 cases of possible EJKs in their active list while over 20 victims have complained of illegal arrests, searches, trespass to dwelling and child abuse are under their scopes.Â
And as to their investigations, he said the CHR is an independent investigation body whose findings are recommendatory and may form the initial evidence for courts of law to look upon.
Over this too, the CHR urges communities to help monitor and make sure law enforcement authorities employ the rules of engagement in operations, using peaceful, calibrated measures and reasonable force in implementing criminal neutralization.Â
Moreover, CHR stressed that only by vigilance would the country be able to effect the changes in the institutions that could also effect a more meaningful enjoyment of human rights.Â (rac/PIA-7/Bohol)Â Â