By Aira May Dizon
MANILA, Dec. 13 (PNA)– The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Tuesday clarified that extra-legal killing would be the proper term to be used on the deaths in the country’s war against drugs and not extra-judicial killing.
In an interview with PNA, DILG Assistant Secretary Epimaco Densing III said the appropriate term on the deaths in the war against drugs should be extra-legal killing which involves killing as a means of self-defense.
“Extra-legal killing is the more generic and less emotional term than extra-judicial killing. But aside from that, in both international and local definition, EJK would not define the killings happening in the Philippines,” he said.
He explained that extra-judicial killing was only used by countries that have death penalty.
“There are two sanctions on extra judicial killing, when you say judicial killing, it means a country has death penalty. Extra judicial is you commit crime outside of the court’s jurisdiction so therefore, judicial and extrajudicial killings are terms to be used in a country that has death penalty,” he explained.
“Extra judicial killing happens when the killing was committed by state agents from the President down to the barangay tanod.” he added.
Densing also clarified that there is a misconception of the term extra-judicial killing on the local definition introduced by former Department of Justice secretary Leila de Lima.
“In local definition, there is a 2012 administrative order no. 35 signed by Sec. De Lima, wherein the definition of extrajudicial killing is if the victim is part or an advocate of a cause-oriented group or either you have killed because of a mistaken identity, which is actually wrong,” he said.
He said that extra-judicial killing must be perpetrated by a state agent or a member of the government.
“The critical here is the perpetrator, if it is a private individual, then there’s no extra-judicial killing,” he added.
He further said killings committed by policemen in anti-drug operations with the virtue of defense should be properly termed as ‘legal or extra-legal killings.’
“But there’s a legal killing, when we say legal killing, you kill somebody in self defense. Extra-legal killing is you kill a defenseless suspect and it may be considered a human rights violation,” he stressed.
He added that consistently, the DILG advises the Philippine National Police (PNP) and other government agencies to only use the extra-legal killing, not extra-judicial killing.
Densing was the assigned human rights expert to head the DILG’s independent probe on human rights violations in the drug war. He is also a member of Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) in the late 1989-1990s. (PNA)