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‘Kin of drug war victims afraid to file cases’

NO class suit has been filed against former president Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte for the thousands killed in his bloody war on illegal drugs because the families of victims remain afraid, human rights lawyer Chel Diokno told lawmakers yesterday.

“Your honor, the families of the victims were afraid – and are afraid until now – to file cases,” Diokno told Manila Rep. Bienvenido Abante, chairperson of the House Committee on Human Rights during the continuation of the panel’s investigation into Duterte’s drug campaign.

Diokno made the statement after Abante asked why he and other human rights lawyers have failed to file a “class suit” against the former president, who is being investigated by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for “crimes against humanity.”

Abante then assured the victims’ families, who are testifying before the panel, of their safety and protection. “I myself is laying my life on the line here. They should not be afraid,” he said.

In November last year, the House Joint Committee on Justice and on Human Rights adopted a resolution calling for the government to cooperate with the ICC investigation on Duterte’s war on drugs.

The joint panel adopted House Resolution No. 1477, which Abante filed with Rep. Ramon Rodrigo Gutierrez (PL, 1-Rider), in consolidation with House Resolution Nos. 1393 filed by the militant Makabayan bloc and HR No. 1482 filed by Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman.

The victims’ relatives, who continued to narrate how their loved ones were killed under “Oplan: Tokhang,” expressed hope that the ICC would soon find Duterte responsible for the drug war deaths.


Diokno, a member of the Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG) told the Abante panel that 20,322 drug suspects or almost 40 daily were killed between July 1, 2016 and Nov. 27, 2017, the first 17 months of the Duterte administration.

He said the figures came from a 2017 year-end accomplishment report of the Office of the President.

He said the Supreme Court took note of the accomplishment report in the case “Amora vs Dela Rosa” (former PNP chief and now Sen. Ronald dela Rosa), filed in 2018.

Diokno said the SC resolution put the daily average of drug suspects killed “at 39.46” during