Press Release
June 7, 2022

Dispatch from Crame No. 1267:
Sen. Leila M. de Lima on another modus operandi in the drug war


In a special report ("A pathologist, a priest and a hunt for justice in PH"), Reuters has documented the humanitarian, compassionate and heroic efforts of Fr. Flavie Villanueva and Dr. Raquel Fortun which led to the discovery of another terrain of manipulation and deceit in the administration of justice for the victims of Duterte's drug war.

Fr. Flavie and Dr. Raquel have been aiding grieving families by properly and methodically investigating the cause of death of some of the victims as against the falsified death certificates coming from the authorities. They are doing this voluntarily and courageously despite the danger involved.

The light of faith and medical science, and courageous reporting, is penetrating the curtain of lies and propaganda in the murderous drug war. And the justice system has to carry this discovery to avoid a total miscarriage of justice in the drug war killings and other crimes where proper death investigation and certification are crucial. It's time for the legal system to take a more involved and determined institutional action in this direction.

Under this cover-up scheme through falsified death certificates, some drug war victims are declared to have died not of gunshot wounds by police or vigilantes but by pneumonia. Or, not of bullets, but by viruses or bacteria, despite being shot point-blank and their bodies ridden with bullet holes in the skull and vital organs and bleeding to death when brought to the hospital.

The families are forced to accept erroneous death certificates by utter helplessness and veiled threats and intimidation.

Obviously, "nanlaban," "tanim baril" and "tanim droga" are not the only modus operandi being employed to avoid prosecution in the cold blood killings. The falsified death certificate is another insidious scheme. And I believe that there are more of these system-corrupting schemes clogging the pathways to hold accountable the perpetrators of horrific crimes under Duterte's drug war and ensure justice for thousands of victims.

We need a more comprehensive and public accountable investigation from the DOJ, and not the cherry-picking investigation currently being pursued. Otherwise, all these official investigations are not helping the victims and the public at all, but only the image of this outgoing Duterte administration. ###

(Access the handwritten version, here:

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