Statement of the Commission on Human Rights on the President’s remark that EJK is his only sin

Statement of the Commission on Human Rights on the President’s remark that EJK is his only sin

For the President to say that extrajudicial killings (EJKs) is his only sin means that he did not only acknowledge its existence but also recognize that it is wrong. Recognizing the existence of a wrong, which has cost thousands of lives, then behooves expedient action and rectification from the State.

We harp again our call to address this problem by bringing all EJK cases to court and ensuring all perpetrators are made accountable and justice be given to all the victims and their families. Amidst the prevailing impunity, it is incumbent upon the government to employ all necessary means to address the problem for it is the supreme duty of the State to protect life. As enshrined in Section II, Article 2 of the 1987 Constitution, “[t]he State values the dignity of every human person and guarantees full respect for human rights.” We must show that we are a nation of laws with high regard for human life and all the fundamental rights that define its essence and meaning.

The Commission also calls out the excuse issued by the Presidential Spokesperson, which seems to downplay the tragic EJK problem by asking the people to not take the President seriously on the said remark. This insults the grief and suffering of the families of victims, devalues further the lives that were lost, and trivializes the growing plea for justice. We seek to remind that the prime duty of the government is to serve and protect the people.

With respect to upholding the right to life, nothing less is expected from public officials but integrity, excellence, and full sense of accountability, as set forth in RA 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees. The highest office of the land, alongside all its representatives and other civil servants, is expected to exemplify these standards of public office to be able to uphold the best interest of the country and recognize the dignity and worth of all. ■