Duterte foe ousted from probe into Philippine killings

Duterte foe ousted from probe into Philippine killings
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte speaks during a news conference in Davao after Norwegian national Kjartan Sekkingstad was freed from the al Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf Islamist militant group in Jolo, Sulu in southern Philippines on Sunday. (REUTERS)
Updated 19 September 2016

Duterte foe ousted from probe into Philippine killings

Duterte foe ousted from probe into Philippine killings

DAVAO: The leading critic of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s bloody war on drug crime was ousted Monday as head of a Senate investigation into the campaign, which has cost thousands of lives.
Senator Leila de Lima said her probe into the surge of killings since Duterte took office on June 30 had been derailed after his allies voted to remove her as head of the Senate justice committee.
De Lima, a former justice secretary and human rights chief, had launched the Senate probe.
It heard explosive allegations last week from a former hitman that Duterte ordered hundreds of killings when he was mayor of the southern city of Davao and even shot one victim himself.
The government described the allegations as lies.
On Monday pro-Duterte senators who control the legislative chamber charged that de Lima’s investigation was ruining the country’s image and voted to remove her as head of the justice committee.
De Lima blamed Duterte for her ousting, telling ABS-CBN television: “I know I will continue to be crucified because the president himself wants that... ever since I initiated the inquiry into his extra-judicial killings.”
“I don’t know what will happen now, whether this inquiry into the extra-judicial killings will at all be credible,” she said, warning the other senators would try to conceal the president’s culpability.
On Sunday Duterte asked for a six-month extension for his war on drugs, saying there were too many people involved in the narcotics trade.
He won May elections by a landslide, after vowing to kill 100,000 criminals and rid the country of illegal drugs in six months.
“I did not realize how severe and how serious the drug menace was in this republic until I became president,” Duterte, 71, told reporters late Sunday in Davao.
Launching his crackdown was like letting “a worm out of the can” he said, adding that he wanted “a little extension of maybe another six months” to try and finish the job.
“Even if I wanted to I cannot kill them all,” Duterte said, adding a new police list of drug suspects would be unveiled.
Among the apparent victims of the war of drugs was a daughter of the late British baron Lord Moynihan, police said Monday.