Palace on AI report: No state-sponsored killings in PH
Malacañang insisted on Wednesday that there were no state-sponsored killings in the Philippines amid the accusation of international human rights watchdog Amnesty International (AI), saying the Duterte administration has ordered the police and paid others “to kill thousands of alleged drug offenders in a wave of extrajudicial executions.”
“The extrajudicial deaths are not state-sanctioned. This is also the conclusion of the Senate’s committees on justice, and on public order and illegal drugs,” Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said in a statement.
The Senate has conducted hearings on alleged extrajudicial killings amid the government’s brutal war on illegal drugs.
Sen. Richard Gordon, chair of the Senate justice committee, has said that he found no proof to support allegations that the Duterte government sanctioned extrajudicial killings in his no-nonsense campaign crackdown on illegal drugs.
“Their joint investigation of deaths during police anti-drug operations shows there is no state-sponsored policy of extrajudicial deaths and that there is relentless effort on the part of the PNP to carry out the campaign properly and within legal processes,” Abella said.
Abella cited the success of the government’s drug war, saying some 1.1 million drug personalities have already surrendered as a result of the 43,593 anti-drug operations under the Oplan Double Barrel of the Philippine National Police (PNP).
“The same operations have yielded 53,025 arrests and neutralized 2,555 drug personalities,” he said.
Amid the success of the government’s drug war, the PNP has been tainted with allegations of corruption and police involvement in illegal drugs.
Abella, however, assured that reforms in the police force would “rid the force of rogue cops.”
“In line with this, he has directed the abolition of all anti-illegal drug units in the PNP for its zero tolerance policy against corruption within the organization,” he said.
EJKs being investigated
President Rodrigo Duterte earlier said the police could no longer conduct drug related operations after he dismantled all its anti-illegal drug units. The PNP’s “Oplan Tokhang” was also stopped amid the cleansing of the police force.
Agnes Callamard, the United Nations special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings, welcomed on Wednesday the suspension of police anti-drug operations in the Philippines.
“We acknowledge the statement of UN Special Rapporteur Agnes Callamard. However, the war on drugs, as the President has said, continues until the last day of his administration; the State does not condone extrajudicial killings perpetrated by common criminals which have been wrongly attributed in some unvetted reports as part of police operations,” Abella said in a separate statement.
Malacanang assured Callamard “that the government should look into unlawful deaths, the President has clear directives that extra-judicial killings must be thoroughly investigated according to established internal procedures; the results of which will be made public in due time.” CDG/JE
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