MALACANANG expects “due process” in the investigation of the human rights panel of the United States House of Representatives into President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.
In a press conference on Thursday, Palace spokesman Ernesto Abella said the Philippine government respected the views of the human rights panel but added that it must conducts its hearing “in the context of the scope of the challenge we face and the actions we are taking to address it.”
“We respect the views of the commission and we greatly value the support of the United States that they have given to us and to continue to give our country as we address our important economic and social development objectives,” Abella told reporters.
“The universality of human rights presupposes due process be observed by all and as such any proceedings that allege wrongdoing should provide the opportunity for all sides to be considered. Insinuations and judgments have no place in due process. Numbers should be verified and information should be crosschecked so that the ensuing conclusions have as solid bases in fact,” he added.
The US House of Representatives’ Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, a bi-partisan caucus, will hold on Thursday a hearing on “the human rights consequences of the ‘war on drugs’ currently underway in the Philippines.”
The Palace official underscored the need to fight illegal drugs, saying drug trafficking fuels terrorism, one of the major problems of the Duterte administration.
“Global experts have recognized the intrinsic link between terrorism and crime specifically the manufacturing and trafficking of illicit drugs,” Abella said.
“The Duterte administration’s campaign against illegal drugs is a noble effort to protect the security and the safety of the Filipino people and the future of the nation,” he added.
Latest Philippine National Police (PNP) data show that a total of 3,200 drug personalities were killed in anti-drug operations from July 1, 2016 to June 20, 2017, or nine killed daily in presumed legitimate anti-drug operations in the first year of the Duterte administration.
The PNP has also determined that out of the 12,833 homicide cases from July 1, 2016 to June 16, 2017, 2,098 deaths were drug-related and 2,535 non-drug related.
A total of 8,200 homicide cases are under investigation “with motives to be determined,” the PNP added.
The Duterte administration repeatedly denied that these deaths were state-sponsored, often pointing out that vigilante groups are behind the killings.