PH defense chief hits US rights abuse report as 'witch hunt': Show us details | Global News
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PH defense chief hits US rights abuse report as ‘witch hunt’: Show us details

/ 02:34 PM April 15, 2022
PH defense chief hits US rights abuse report as 'witch hunt': Show us details

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines — Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Friday dared the US State Department to support with details its report that members of Philippine security forces committed “significant” human rights abuses.

The defense chief criticized the US State Department’s report, saying it was “nothing but innuendos and witch hunt” if their accusations have no data to back them up.

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“We question the State Department’s report of abuses by security forces. But since the state department seems so sure of its facts we challenge it to provide us with details so our Commission on Human Rights, a constitutional and independent body, can verify them, and if proven accurate, the perpetrators will be punished,” Lorenzana said in a statement.

“Absent these data the accusations are nothing but innuendos and witch hunt. At worst, the state has become a gullible victim of black propaganda,” he added.

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In its 2021 Country Report on Human Rights Practices, the US State Department said that it received “credible reports that members of the security forces committed numerous abuses.”

The US said these “significant” rights issues include “unlawful or arbitrary killings, including extrajudicial killings, by and on behalf of the government and non-state actors; reports of forced disappearance by and on behalf of the government and non-state actors; torture by and on behalf of the government and non-state actors; harsh and life-threatening prison conditions; (and) arbitrary detention by and on behalf of the government and non-state actors.”

Contrary to the US report, however, Lorenzana boasted that the Armed Forces of the Philippines was even recently voted as among the trusted agencies of the government.

“Surely it did not earn this by abusing people,” he pointed out.

As for the Philippine National Police (PNP), it said they are not “completely disregarding” the report but stressed the gains of its internal cleansing program in a bid to rid the police force of errant police officers.

The US State Department report said the PNP was “largely ineffective” in cleansing its ranks.

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TAGS: Delfin Lorenzana, Human Rights, US State Department
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