Palace says survey on human rights abuses "demonized" by Duterte's critics
Three of four Filipinos see many human rights abuses in the Duterte administration's war on drugs, saying it was "demonized" by President Rodrigo Duterte's critics.
In a statement on Monday, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo, however, urged the victims or who could have witnessed abuses to file the necessary complaints.
"The Palace is unsurprised with the survey finding. The Administration's war on drugs has been demonized by the relentless disinformation launched by President's vocal critics and the political opposition at its inception and not without the cooperation of some shameless media outlets. A lie repeated many times over is somehow stamped with a perception of truth," he said.
In the fourth quarter 2019 Social Weather Survey, conducted on Dec. 13-16, it found that 76 percent of adult Filipinos said there have been many human rights abuses in the administration's war on illegal drugs, and 24 percent said there have been few.
"These rambunctious peddlers of disinformation have associated the extra-judicial killings (EJKs), which are not state initiated, with the government's drug-related operations. This constant vilification have gained an undeserved currency," said Panelo, also chief presidential legal counsel.
He reiterated that drug-related deaths occurred due to "violent resistance" by the suspects in buy-bust and police operations, endangering lives of law enforces.
He said the other deaths were results of "internecine or killings within the drug organizations."
But Panelo, also the chief presidential legal counsel, assured that the government is determined to punish to the fullest state agents who abuse their authority.
"The Filipino people are assured that even as this Administration is resolute in enforcing our laws in eliminating illegal narcotics, we are equally decisive in protecting the human rights of our citizens," he said.
He added that Duterte is not concerned about the popularity of his policies.
While the President's detractors and "pretentious bleeding hearts focus on the aspect of human rights," he noted that the same survey also revealed that 73 percent of the people believe that the number of illegal drug users has fallen since Duterte has taken office.
He claimed that illegal drugs proliferated during the previous administrations because of neglect.
But he vowed that the current government would crush the menace. Celerina Monte/DMS