De Lima: Marcos should put an end to drug-related killings

In a speech on March 18, 2024, President Marcos emphasized the alleged progress of his human rights policy, as the number of cases of crimes and human rights violations should have decreased under his administration. He mentioned that the number of index crimes had dropped drastically from 107,899 in 2017 to 38,436 last year and stated that the number of cases of human rights violations had halved in 2023 compared to the previous year.

However, data from the University of the Philippines’ Dahas Project shows that drug violence under Marcos Jr. is at the same level as under the previous Duterte administration. Dahas recorded 342 cases of drug-related killings from July 1, 2022, to June 30, 2023, an average rate of 0.9 killings per day, which is even slightly higher than the daily average of 0.8 in former President Duterte’s last year in office.

According to a statement by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) in March 2024 cases of drug-related killings have reportedly fallen by 95 percent under the administration of President Marcos, compared to the previous administration. During a recent visit to Germany, the Philippine President told German Chancellor Olaf Scholz that the anti-drug campaign had “significantly improved” under his administration and that he “diametrically opposes the use of violence.”

As part of the Philippine Department of Justice’s (DOJ) victim compensation programme, survivors and victims of drug-related killings, human trafficking, online sexual abuse, and other serious human rights violations have been able to receive compensation from the government since March 14, 2024.

Former Senator Leila de Lima called on President Marcos Jr. to end the so-called “war on drugs” and stop the ongoing drug-related killings during a side event of the 67th session of the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs on March 21, 2024, in Vienna, Austria. De Lima emphasized the need for effective transitional justice and urged the International Criminal Court (ICC) to prosecute the perpetrators of the alleged crimes against humanity in the context of the “war on drugs.”

Human Rights Watch (HRW) also expressed concerns about the alleged improvements in relation to human rights under Marcos Jr. HRW pointed out that despite Marcos’ proclaimed reorientation of his drug policy, the executive orders and issuances that have operationalized the “war on drugs” since former President Duterte are still in force.

De Lima spent 2,454 days in solitary confinement on fabricated charges in harsh conditions before she was allowed to post bail in November 2023, which led to her temporary release. The trial on the third and final charge against the human rights defender and former senator will resume in March 2024, four months after her release.



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