Poe: Uphold rights in drug war; Trillanes: Sanctions vs PH to worsen
MANILA — Senator Grace Poe urged the Duterte administration on Wednesday to uphold human rights while remaining relentless in its war on drugs, even as Senator Antonio Trillanes IV warned that the cancelled sale of US assault rifles to the Philippine National Police was just the start of a series of sanctions against the Philippines for its human rights record.
Poe said much of international assistance has become premised on a country’s rights record.
Poe said the US has long maintained a policy “to take into consideration human rights concerns with whatever assistance it extends to a country,” including weapons.
“It would do well for the interest of the Philippines and its citizens around the globe to maintain our country’s good standing with respect to our relations with other countries, including the European Union too, by upholding human rights in the efforts to combat illegal drugs,” she told the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
“Human rights and the anti-drug efforts need not be mutually exclusive,” said Poe.
Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV on Wednesday pinned the blame on President Duterte and his fierce war on drugs for the United States’ decision to halt its sale of assault rifles to the Philippines, expecting the backlash to worsen in the coming days.
“That’s just the start. Things would probably get worse in the coming months as our countrymen get hit from different directions at different levels,” said Trillanes when reached via text message on Wednesday.
“But to be clear, contrary to President Duterte’s big lie, the US didn’t start this. He did, when he started killing his own people and didn’t want to be accountable for it,” said Trillanes, a member of the Senate’s minority bloc who has been vocal against the administration’s brutal campaign against drug pushers.
The US State Department has reportedly stopped the sale of up to 27,000 rifles to the Philippines after US Senator Ben Cardin, a Democrat and member of the US Senate’s foreign relations committee, expressed his intent to oppose the sale due to the Duterte administration’s questionable human rights record.
US officials have several times expressed concern over the rising death toll in the President’s brutal anti-drug campaign, with deaths in police operations, vigilante slays and other killings reaching more than 3,000 in the first three months of the new administration.
America’s persistent human rights call has drawn President Duterte’s ire, and the leader has fired back with expletives against the long-time Philippine ally, including harsh words at US President Barack Obama, and a declaration to toe a different foreign policy line from that of country’s former colonizer. SFM
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