STATEMENT | UP faculty members weigh in on concern over killings in drugs war

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EJK protest
In file photo, Filipino human rights advocate wears a sign calling for an end to extrajudicial killings over his mouth. (Karapatan handout photo)

MANILA – Regular faculty members at the University of the Philippines have weighed in on the rising concern over the tilting of the government’s war on illegal drugs toward a crackdown on mostly poor people instead of well-connected drug lords and narco-politicians.

“We are deeply concerned about the mounting number of unresolved and unexplained cases of killings related to the ongoing war against drugs. We express our strongest indignation over the recent murder of Kian Loyd de los Santos, Carl Angelo Arnaiz, Reynaldo De Guzman, and other minors and poor people whose deaths are a reflection of the brutal method that our law enforcement uses, emboldened and encouraged by the President’s protection and rhetoric that perpetuate impunity and the climate of fear,” said the statement approved Sept. 4 by the University Council of UP-Diliman.

The council is composed of regular faculty members with ranks of Professors, Associate Professors and Assistant Professors.

“We express our serious concern against the erosion of democratic principles and creeping authoritarian rule in our country, palpable in the spate of killings following President Duterte’s declaration of a total war against drugs and the extension of martial law in Mindanao. We denounce any justification of the killings as “necessary evils,” and stand firm in condemning martial law and the increasing disregard for our civil rights,” added their statement.

Here’s full text of the Council Statement:

STOP THE KILLINGS. UPHOLD THE RULE OF LAW.

As faculty members of the University of the Philippines, the national University, we uphold the rule of law, the respect for human rights as enshrined in the Philippine Constitution –especially the right to life and liberty, due process, the right against arbitrary arrest and detention– and other civil liberties necessary for the regular functioning of our democratic institutions.

We are deeply concerned about the mounting number of unresolved and unexplained cases of killings related to the ongoing war against drugs. We express our strongest indignation over the recent murder of Kian Loyd de los Santos, Carl Angelo Arnaiz, Reynaldo De Guzman, and other minors and poor people whose deaths are a reflection of the brutal method that our law enforcement uses, emboldened and encouraged by the President’s protection and rhetoric that perpetuate impunity and the climate of fear.

The so-called “war on drugs” is supposed to stop and prosecute the source, often protected by narco-politics interests and powerful individuals, being the big business behind the drug trade and drug abuse. The campaign against drugs should not be a bloody war against the poor who have little or no capacity to protect themselves both from the onslaught of the drug crime and the predominant social corruption.

We express our serious concern against the erosion of democratic principles and creeping authoritarian rule in our country, palpable in the spate of killings following President Duterte’s declaration of a total war against drugs and the extension of martial law in Mindanao. We denounce any justification of the killings as “necessary evils,” and stand firm in condemning martial law and the increasing disregard for our civil rights.

Our University must be a beacon against disrespect for human rights and the growing authoritarianism of the present administration. We urge our fellow educators to stand united, hold fora, discussions and teach-ins for our students and the general public, to assert the value of human rights, respect for civil liberties, and resist strongman rule.

We, as UP faculty, must be critical voices to remind the government of its avowed allegiance to service, promotion of public good, and the protection and well-being of all citizens.

We strongly call upon the government to stop the killings and uphold the rule of law!