As political aspirants file their respective Certificates of Candidacy for the upcoming elections, an individual gunning for vice presidency earned attention for showing a photo of an alleged “Oplan Tokhang” victim.
Reports said that a lady named Rochelle David has submitted her COC at the Harbor Garden Tent in Sofitel Hotel on Friday and insisted that her name on the ballot appear as “Rochelle ‘Medium ng Puti Dwende.'”
She didn’t speak to the media but she showed a close-up full-page picture of a male relative looking sideways. She alleged that he was a victim of the administration’s “War on Drugs” campaign.
Her photo was also posted on the Commission on Elections’ Twitter account, who identified David as “Rhona.”
— COMELEC (@COMELEC) October 1, 2021
David does not belong to any political party.
Online Filipinos thought that her COC filing was a “statement” due to her action in the venue.
“She is making a statement by filing for COC. I would rather vote for her than Sotto, Duterte, or Atienza,” a Twitter user said.
“Idk (I don’t know) but her candidacy looks like a protest and that’s her statement,” another online user commented.
“This looks like a protest candidacy,” a different Filipino wrote in response to David’s filing.
“May her loved ones and all the victims of the gruesome EJK under this admin (administration) get the justice they deserve. What a statement,” a Twitter user likewise commented.
“EJK” is short for extrajudicial killing in which “extrajudicial” is defined as “not forming a valid part of regular legal proceedings” and “not done in contravention of due process of law.”
The “Oplan Tokhang” is part of the Project Double Barrel, an anti-illegal drug campaign of the Philippine National Police launched under the Duterte administration.
It initially “involves the conduct of house visitations to persuade suspected illegal drug personalities to stop their illegal drug activities.”
Under “Oplan Tokhang,” drug suspects are primarily identified through the watch list submitted by the Barangay Anti-Drug Abuse Council to the police. The law enforcers then validate the submitted list with their own.
President Rodrigo Duterte‘s anti-narcotics campaign has since caught the attention of the International Criminal Court due to the allegedly committed crimes against humanity.
During the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly last month, he said that those who are found to have “acted beyond bounds” in his anti-narcotics campaign would be held accountable under national laws.
Duterte and his police chiefs said that the killings in the campaign were done in self-defense while his government insists ICC supposedly has no right to meddle in the country’s affairs.
“If there are complaints, it should be filed in the Philippines because our courts are working. The ICC has no jurisdiction,” Duterte’s spokesperson said.
“When we became a party in the (ICC’s) Rome statute, we did not surrender our sovereignty and jurisdiction,” he added.