Volume III, Number 11. 15 June 2021.

It is already globally acknowledged that President Rodrigo Duterte and his cabal of security officials are culpable for the murder, torture, unjust imprisonment and harassment of tens of thousands of Filipino citizens. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, no less, reported that “persistent impunity for human rights violations is stark and practical obstacles to accessing justice within the country are almost insurmountable.”

As we write this, the ICC Prosecutor called for a full investigation into allegations of “crimes against humanity” against Duterte, unearthing the evidence needed to file formal charges against this mass murderer.

Duterte’s fake ‘war on drugs’ has resulted in the killing by police forces of more than 30,000 suspected drug dependents and small-time dealers. Meanwhile, illegal drugs continue to proliferate, fattening the pockets of police and military officials, as well as Duterte’s cronies.

Duterte’s vain ‘war against communism’ has resulted in the killing by military and police forces of thousands of civilians, political activists and human rights defenders. Hundreds more are unjustly detained, unremittingly harassed and forced to ‘surrender’. The most vicious security officials are promoted, awarded plum positions in the civilian bureaucracy and grow fatter from ‘reward money’. Meanwhile, this vicious war has only pushed more Filipinos to take the path of armed revolutionary resistance.

Security forces of the Duterte government have acknowledged and master-minded intentional and direct attacks against Filipinos who are not active participants in the armed conflict. They have launched bombings and artillery shelling of civilian communities, causing civilian deaths and injuries, and destruction to civilian properties. They have intentionally attacked, nay mutilated, medical personnel of the New People’s Army. They callously obstruct the release of dead combatants or murdered political activists to their loved ones.

Yes, in case you missed it: the Philippine National Police, Armed Forces of the Philippines and their commander-in-chief Rodrigo Duterte are culpable for countless murders already punishable under their own laws. They are equally culpable of numerous violations of international humanitarian law in the context of the ongoing internal armed conflict.

We trust that the armed forces of the NDFP respect and abide by the Rules of the NPA, the Rules for Establishing the People’s Democratic Government, the 1998 GRP-NDFP Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law and the pertinent provisions of the 1949 Geneva Conventions. Internal processes are in place and operational in protecting the civilian population in the course of the armed conflict.

Does anyone still trust Duterte and his officials to respect GRP laws and international humanitarian law? It is high time that this regime be summoned to face up to its horrendous crimes against the Filipino people.