Rights groups funded by drug lords not far-fetched, says official
Allegations drug lords are funding human rights groups are not far-fetched, according to Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo.
Panelo issued the statement after the Commission on Human Rights criticized Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano and Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque who first surmised human rights groups could have been funded by the drug syndicates whose drug trade could have been hardly affected due to the government's war on drugs.
"Dispensing allegations without proof is dangerous as it opens human rights defenders to unsolicited attacks," CHR said in a statement on Thursday.
"We are not dispensing accusatory allegations. They are merely expressing concern that human rights groups, without them knowing it maybe being funded by drug money making them therefore unwitting victims. In the realm of possibility, that is not far-fetched," Panelo said on Thursday.
"Since they have been critical on the administration's war on drugs, the drug lords could contribute funds without identifying themselves as the source of the donation for obvious reason," he added.
The CHR has said that criticisms on the government’s campaign against illegal drugs are neither clear links to drug lords nor a sign of destabilization plot.
In a democracy, it explained constructive criticisms on government programs are viewed as points of improvement meant to better achieve their goal of providing a better life to everyone, rather than tools to threaten rights.
The CHR also noted even the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency and Philippine National Police have admitted further investigation was needed to give credence to this assertion.
"It means that, at point, it remains no more than a baseless allegation," it added. Celerina Monte/DMS