Sen. Manny Pacquiao recently claimed at an open forum following his speech at Oxford University that there are no extrajudicial killings in the country.
The boxer-politician was invited by Oxford Union president Stephen Horvath and society secretary Tom Brown to speak in front of the university’s prestigious debating society on November 5.
Pacquiao recounted his life story and how he thrived in the political ring even though he initially hated it.
Despite his speech being generally inspirational, people slammed him when he denied the occurrence of extrajudicial killings.
Pacquiao instead said that drug suspects die because of resisting arrest and fighting back to police officers.
Some Filipinos were not too happy with his statement, insisting that cases of extrajudicial killings continue to become a reality under President Rodrigo Duterte.
Pacquiao: "There are no extra judicial killings in the Philippines."
Outraged human rights advocate: "What do you mean there are no extra judicial killings?"
SP: "I mean 'sakto lang' no extra."
— Boom Buencamino (@BoomBuencamino) November 7, 2018
Similarly, we have no drug lords nor drug problem, we have no corrupt officials, we have very intelligent senators like Manny, Digong is not presidents…welcome to dreamland!!!!
— John Ipsi (@JohnIpsi) November 7, 2018
naalala ko yung news kagabi about manny pacquiao; wala raw ejk sa pinas, mga nanlaban daw ang namatay sa war on drugs at BAKA raw siya ang pumalit sa pwesto ni duterte!!!! akshdjdbdjdkskabd my entire system became panicky
— clars • [D-4: iKON in MNL] (@clarsdc) November 7, 2018
Senate President Tito Sotto later on corrected Pacquiao, but himself denied that extrajudicial killings are tied with policies of the administration.
“There is EJK but not ordered by the government. Walang EJK na executed ng gobyerno. We have to admit na mayroong EJK pero hindi inorder ng gobyerno,” Sotto said.
He argued that the term “EJK” is problematic since according to him, there are no “judicial killings” in the Philippines because death penalty is not imposed.
The government, however, has restricted the definition of extrajudicial killings to that in Administrative Order 35 by the preceding Aquino administration. The restrictive definition does not apply internationally and under other Philippine laws.
Meanwhile, Oxford Philippines Society expressed their concern over Pacquiao’s appearance on the university and hoped that it would not be a “validation” of his otherwise questionable performance as a legislator.
Duterte: ‘My only sin is EJK’
Despite Pacquiao’s denial that extrajudicial killings happen in the country, the president himself supposedly admitted three months ago that it is the only “sin” he has committed as a president.
During a speech in the oath-taking ceremony of government officials on September 2018, Duterte said that he should only be criticized for one thing—the extrajudicial killings in the country.
“What are your sins? Me? I told the military ‘what are my sins?’ Did I steal money? Even just one peso? Did I prosecute somebody I sent to jail? Ang kasalanan ko lang ‘yung mga extrajudicial killing,” he said.
Duterte made the remark during his tirade against opposition Sen. Francis Pangilinan, who is the Liberal Party president.
The chief executive added that the killings are supposed to be directed at “fools.”
“Kaya kapag sinabi niyang ang kasalanan ko lang ay extrajudicial killing, ibig sabihin, ang isyu lang sa akin bilang president ay extrajudicial killing. Iyon ang ibig sabihin nun,” he said.
A law expert, on the other hand, said that Duterte’s words could be used as a basis for impeachment.
Antonio “Tony” La Viña, former dean of the Ateneo School of Government, said that Duterte’s demeanor was “very clear” during the speech.
“Kasi nanggaling sa mouth ng presidente. Hindi mo na kailangan i-prove pa. Ang tawag diyan, admission against interest. ‘Yan ang pinaka-highest and strongest evidence. Because nobody confesses unless they mean it,” he explained.
Duterte is currently being examined by the International Criminal Court for his supposed crimes against humanity despite his withdrawal.
Earlier this year, he withdrew from the treaty that lets country signatories recognize four core crimes—genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and crimes of aggression—and be subjected to an investigation once any of them is committed.