Iloilo City–Lone District Rep. Jerry P. Treñas wants to end extra-legal killings and enforced disappearances, and put to bars the perpetrators.
He authored House Bill No. 3594, seeking the passage of a law on defining the crimes of extra-legal killing and enforced disappearance, and providing penalties for such crimes.
While the Supreme Court already issued the rule on the Writ of Amparo, he stressed that it is just “a remedial remedy for any person whose right to life, liberty and security is violated or threatened with violation by an unlawful act or omission of a public official or employee, or of a private individual or entity, which allows a person to seek redress in a court of law.” It covers extra-legal killings and enforced disappearances, or threats of such nature.
He said, however, that the Writ of Amparo is not a substantive law and it does not contain any provision that criminalize extra-legal killings and enforced disappearances.
“Even the High Tribunal admitted that a law must be passed defining extra-judicial killings and disappearances,” he said.
“The Writ is not enough to send perpetrators to jail. That’s why I have spearheaded and authored the passage of a law criminalizing such dastardly acts.”
He said that perpetrators are merely charged with existing felonies under the Revised Penal Code of the Philippines, such as murder, kidnapping, illegal arrest and arbitrary detention.
“There is a need to pass a specific law defining extra-legal killings and enforced disappearances that elevates these offenses beyond the ambit of the felonies of the Revised Penal Code,” he added.
“We often fail to trace the whereabouts of the victims, and unmask and punish the perpetrators,” he stressed.
He said the bill, if passed, would also deter the execution and abduction of media members, citing the country’s humiliating reputation of being one of the most dangerous places for journalists.