Karapatan to Marcos Jr.: Stop the killings, justice for the victims

Photo by Lucky Dela Rosa/Philippine Collegian

December 8, 2023

As we observe International Human Rights Day on December 10, commemorating the 75th year of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, we assert that the climate of impunity that shielded Rodrigo Duterte and his subalterns from being held accountable for the killings of activists and suspected drug personalities still rears its ugly head under Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

Marcos Jr.’s carefully crafted attempts to project a different image of himself as that of his bloodthirsty predecessor are crumbling in the face of the extrajudicial killings that continue under his regime.

As of November 2023, human rights alliance Karapatan has documented up to 87 extrajudicial killings in the course of the Marcos Jr. regime’s vicious counter-insurgency war since he began his term in July 2022. This averages about five killings per month. The killings include five massacres where 27 victims were brutally murdered, including children and elderly women.

This is on top of other civil and political rights violations. Under Marcos Jr., Karapatan has documented 12 victims of enforced disappearance; 316 victims of illegal and arbitrary arrest; 22,391 victims of bombing; 39,769 victims of indiscriminate firing; 24,670 victims of forced evacuation; 552 victims of forced surrender; and 1,609,496 victims of threats, harassment, intimidation, including red-tagging.

On the other hand, the Third World Studies Program’s Dahas Project has reported that under Marcos Jr.’s war on drugs, there have been 474 drug-war related killings.

Karapatan demands an end to this climate of impunity and calls for justice and accountability for the killings in both the counter-insurgency war and the war on drugs.

Domestic redress mechanisms have clearly failed to exact justice for the victims of Duterte’s bloody drug war, with only three convictions attained in the face of up to 30,000 drug war-related killings perpetrated by police forces and police-sanctioned vigilante death squads since Duterte’s bloody campaign began in mid-2016.

The ongoing investigations into Duterte’s drug war by prosecutors of the International Criminal Court (ICC) offer a glimpse of hope to the victims and their families. In the interest of justice, ICC investigators must be allowed into the country and provided access to the victims and all pertinent records needed for their probe.

The Marcos Jr. regime must also answer for its own perpetuation of Duterte’s fascist counter-insurgency and drug war policies that continue to claim the lives of hundreds of Filipinos.

End impunity! Stop the killings!

Cristina Palabay
Karapatan Secretary General