Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has condemned the prevailing culture of violence and impunity in the country perpetrated by the Duterte administration following the recent killing of another mayor who was purportedly on the government’s “narco-list.”
De Lima, a known human rights defender here and abroad, said the fatal ambush of the late Misamis Occidental Mayor David Navarro is the new addition to the long list of abuses in the country that normalize violence and killings.
“Another killing, a brazen execution in broad daylight, before the very noses of helpless police escorts!”, she said in her recent Dispatch from Crame No. 633.
“Just another incident that desensitizes our collective repulsion towards violence. A dying Rule of Law!” she added.
Navarro, who was said to be on Mr. Duterte’s list of at least 40 suspected narco-politicians, was shot dead last Oct. 25 while aboard a police vehicle en route to the Cebu City Prosecutor’s Office.
Probers reportedly said that 10 heavily armed men jumped out of the van and surrounded the police vehicle, with two of the men later dragging Navarro out of the police van and killing him.
Navarro was killed a day after he was arrested for beating up a massage therapist and supposedly asking for sexual favors from another. While police have yet to identify the suspects and motive behind the ambush that killed Navarro, the drug angle has reportedly been brought up.
Under the Duterte regime, killings have been rampant, and the people have been desensitized into watching violence and abuses in the news.
De Lima dared the Duterte administration to file criminal charges against erring officials implicated in the illegal drug trade instead of releasing so-called narco-lists which violate the constitutionally-guaranteed right of presumption of innocence.
Navarro is the 13th town or city mayor killed in the country by either police or unknown assailants since Mr. Duterte assumed presidency in June 2016.