UST student body seeks ‘integrity’ in drug war

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Students light candles as they call for an end to extrajudicial killings outside the Colegio de San Juan De Letran in Intramuros, Manila, Aug. 31, 2016. (R. Lagarde/CBCPNews)

MANILA, Sept. 1, 2016— A student body from one of the country’s top universities has asked for ‘integrity’ in the criminal justice system by ensuring due process is followed in the war on drugs.

Alarmed over the rising cases of the alleged summary killings, the Central Student Council (CSC) of the Dominican-run University of Santo Tomas said called for the upholding of the rule of law.

While they fully support the government’s anti-drug campaign, the organization still wants authorities to ensure protection of fundamental human rights.

“Integrity can be upheld without jeopardizing the rights of our fellowmen and without compromising the necessary exercise of due process,” the CSC said in a statement issued Thursday.

“As representative of the youth, we stand together in this fight, yet we are a community that uplifts the pursuit for the impartial truth,” it said.

The council also backed the Church’s campaign for restorative instead of a punitive justice— an approach where offenders are given opportunity to repair the damage they have done through various creative ways.

Advocates believe that it can can potentially reduce repeat offenses, incarceration rates, and court costs.

More groups are condemning the surge of drug-related killings which has reached around 2,000 since President Rodrigo Duterte took office two months ago.

On Wednesday evening, students and civil society groups in Metro Manila held simultaneous candle-lighting protest and urged the government to act against extrajudicial killings.

The CSC also reminded concerned authorities that “if people are to be held accountable with enough proof, then let the just cases be filed and the appropriate sanctions be applied.”

“Let the war against crime and drugs be waged and won without the expense if innocent lives, and let the path towards a better country be trodden by us, as one Republic of the Philippines,” the organization said. (Roy Lagarde/CBCP News)

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