Senator Dela Rosa refuses to participate in human rights committee inquiry

On June 25, 2024, the Human Rights Committee of the House of Representatives held another hearing to investigate the drug-related killings or extrajudicial killings in the course of the so-called “war on drugs” under former President Duterte. In this third hearing, the behavior of the Internal Affairs Service (IAS) of the Philippine National Police (PNP) was examined in particular. The IAS is an independent body that can investigate police officers who have violated procedural rules or regulations. The lawmakers criticized the fact that the IAS has so far only filed administrative complaints, although it also holds the mandate to issue criminal complaints against police officers. The chairman of the Human Rights Committee, Bienvenido Abante, also warned police officers who took photos of the victims’ relatives before the hearing began.

Show cause orders were issued due to the absence of some summoned persons and authorities, including the Department of Justice (DOJ), former Solicitor General Jose Calida, former PNP commander Vicente Danao and former National Bureau of Investigation chief Medardo de Lemos. Danao was the last police chief of Davao City when Rodrigo Duterte was mayor. Calida, as Duterte’s solicitor general, blocked the release of documents on drug-related killings in the “war on drugs.”

Senator Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa, who as police chief under Duterte implemented the “war on drugs,” was also invited to the hearing. Dela Rosa declined to attend on the basis of a recommendation by Senate President Francis Escudero, who referred to the inter-parliamentary courtesy between the two chambers. Inter-parliamentary courtesy is a practice in Congress where both houses agree not meddle in each other’s affairs. Dela Rosa also stated that he would only attend the committee hearing if former President Duterte did the same. However, during a Senate session at the end of June, Dela Rosa admitted that human rights violations took place in connection with the “war on drugs” under former President Duterte.

The Human Rights Committee has also invited ex-President Duterte and the recently acquitted Senator Leila de Lima to attend the hearings. According to his press spokesman Harry Roque, Duterte announced that he is prepared to stand trial in a Philippine court, but that this does not include the investigation in the House of Representatives.


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