Human Rights Watch exec hits Bato, Duterte over killings
An official of international group Human Rights Watch (HRW) has slammed Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Ronald dela Rosa and President Rodrigo Duterte for supposed lack of accountability over the spate of drug-related deaths in the country.
Phelim Kine, deputy director of HRW’s Asia division, said Dela Rosa was “unconcerned by the sharp rise” of killings, “characterizing them as proof of an ‘uncompromising’ police approach to drug crimes.”
“Dela Rosa added that police personnel implicated in unjustified killings of criminal suspects ‘will be investigated, prosecuted, and accordingly punished,’ but made it clear that he will not proactively examine those deaths. Last month Dela Rosa slammed calls for an investigation as ‘legal harassment,’ saying it “dampens the morale” of police officers,” Kine said in a statement.
During a Senate hearing on Tuesday, Dela Rosa said there had been 1,067 killings by unidentified individuals and 712 killings by police since July 1, when Duterte took office. The Inquirer’s “Kill List” notes 729 drug-related deaths from June 30 to August 22.
But the police chief maintained that the government has no policy of killing drug suspects and that the police do not condone vigilante killings, as he blamed crime syndicates for the rising cases of summary executions.
Citing the President’s repeated shoot-to-kill orders against drug perpetrators, Kine said the spate of supposed extrajudicial killings indicate that Duterte’s “aggressive rhetoric advocating violent solutions to criminality has found a receptive audience.”
He also called out Duterte for supposedly resorting to intimidation in dismissing critics of the government’s anti-drug drive.
“Duterte is steamrolling the rule of law and its advocates both at home and abroad. He has declared the soaring number of killings of alleged criminal suspects as proof of the ‘success’ of his anti-drug campaign and urged police to ‘seize the momentum.’ He has sought to intimidate domestic critics of that campaign and dismissed international critics as ‘stupid,’” Kine said.
“Other countries, including the United States and European Union members, should make it clear to Duterte that inciting such violence is unacceptable and will reap potentially severe diplomatic and economic costs, beyond the human one. Otherwise, it’s hard to envision when these killings will end,” Kine added. CDG
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