US should be fair in probe of killings — Malacañang
Malacañang expects a fair investigation by the United States Human Rights Congress of the alleged extrajudicial killings (EJKs) in the Philippines.
“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,” Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said in a Palace briefing Thursday.
The Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, a congressional body of the United States, said it would investigate the rising cases of supposed EJKs in the Philippines.
Abella said the government respects the move of the US commission but said the investigation must not be based on insinuations.
“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,” he said.
“Having said that, we also believe that the issues that are the focus of commission hearing must be discussed in the context of the scope of the challenge that we face and the actions we are taking to address it,” he added.
The US Human Rights Commission has cited the “Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2016” of the Department of State, saying extrajudicial killings in the Philippines has increased sharply.
But Abella said numbers on the killings in the country should be verified first.
“Numbers should be verified and information should be crosschecked so that the ensuing conclusions have as solid bases in fact.
Global experts have recognized the intrinsic link between terrorism and crime specifically the manufacturing and trafficking of illicit drugs,” he said.
“Insinuations and judgments have no place in due process,” he added.
Critics have slammed the spike in supposed extrajudicial killings in the Philippines and attributed it to President Rodrigo Duterte’s brutal crackdown on illegal drugs.
But Abella again defended Duterte’s war on drugs.
“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 said. CBB/rga
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