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Ex-Ateneo dean Tony La Vina: Duterte didn’t invent EJKs but here’s why they’re more noticed now

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While extrajudicial killings have become synonymous to the Duterte administration, they are by no means an “invention” of the President, former Ateneo School of Government dean Tony La Viña said.

In his November 4 column for the Manila Standard, La Viña said journalists, activists and other advocates have also been killed in the previous administrations.

“But the scale is different now and because the victims are the poorest in our society, they happen to be the most powerless and need lawyers the most,” he said.

Quoting former University of the Philippines College of Law dean Pacifico Agabin, La Viña said: “the war against illegal drugs is not a war because it is one sided and the poor victims are not fighting back.”

La Viña is one of the convenors of the Mga Manananggol Laban sa EJKs (Manlaban sa EJKs), an alliance of abogados committed to stopping EJKs.

He said that while there are already groups fighting EJKs, Manlaban will hopefully “scale up” efforts to stop the killing of poor people in the crusade against illegal drugs.

“Let it not be said that the legal profession stood idle by while many of our poor countrymen were killed,” La Viña said.