• Presidential chief legal counsel Atty. Sal Panelo criticized Senator De Lima for planning to seek legislative probe on the killings of drug suspects
  • De Lima’s plan, Panelo said, is viewed as an attempt to discredit the legitimacy of the police operations against the drug menace
  • The senator earlier said she will file a resolution to probe the killings

Presidential Chief legal counsel Atty. Salvador Panelo criticized Senator Leila De Lima’s plan to seek legislative probe on the series of killings of drug suspects.

Panelo said the senator’s plan is viewed as an attempt to tarnish the legitimacy of police operations against the drug menace.

“Any attempt therefore to conduct a Senate investigation, by any member, especially of that particular senator who wants to conduct an investigation, may be viewed as an attempt to discredit the legitimacy of police operations against the drug menace,” Panelo, pertaining to Senator De Lima, told Malacañang reporters on Monday, July 11.

On Thursday last week, July 7, Senator De Lima expressed her desire to file a resolution, in aid of legislation, seeking an investigation on the killings of drug suspects.

“Halos araw-araw may mga namamatay [Many are killed almost daily] and many of them are an offshoot of police operations, so we have to look into the legitimacy of the manner of the method by which these police enforcers are doing their job,” the lady senator said.

Panelo said the senator’s basis for calling a Senate probe were purely speculation and conjecture.

“While it’s the duty of a member of Congress to initiate investigation with respect to the Senate investigation involving killings of drug pushers, it appears as I can see it there is no basis other than speculation and conjecture,” he said.

“As a manner of protocol or procedure, the police agency conducts immediately an investigation when a civilian is killed in the process of arrest,” Panelo added.

Meanwhile, Solicitor General Jose Calida told policemen not to be afraid of legislative inquiries; saying they have the full backing of the government.

“We will not allow anybody to derail this effort of the PNP (Philippine National Police) and its officers to implement the order of our President, to stop this drug trafficking and drug menace in our society. I am here to encourage the PNP not to be afraid of any congressional or Senate investigations. We will defend them,” Calida was quoted in a GMA News Online article as saying.