Common ground on EJKs?” was first published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer on February 4, 2017. (Photo: Amnesty International Philippines)

That remains difficult to find, as the angry government response to Amnesty International (AI) criticism demonstrated. But the blowback from the murder of Korean businessman Jee Ick-joo in Camp Crame by Anti-Illegal Drugs Group police has opened space for constructive dialogue. Still, logic, language and policy issues abound.

Assistant Interior Secretary Epimaco Densing III argued that, without a death penalty, there is no judicial killing: “If a country has no judicial killing, there’s no extrajudicial killing.” Should we not instead conclude that if there is no judicial killing, then all killings by state authorities are extrajudicial?

Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez believes EJKs will decline with the death penalty. Will it rather not rationalize EJKs? Why postpone execution through an expensive, time-consuming court process, when the expected verdict is death? Anyway, the Department of Justice’s mandate, Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II apparently believes, extends to determining who is fully human and deserves human rights. Seriously

Reviewing 51 drug-related incidents between June and December in 2016, Reuters reported the police kill ratio at 97 percent. The figure between 2013 and 2015 for Rio de Janeiro police, also accused of EJKs, was 80 percent. National Capital Region Police Office chief Oscar Albayalde disputed Reuters’ figure as “probably not true,” and quoted a 5-6 percent kill ratio.

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Edilberto de Jesus
Edilberto de Jesus is a former Secretary of Education. He is also professor emeritus at the Asian Institute of Management.