‘We prosecute people who violate human rights,’ says Palace
MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang Palace disputed on Monday the remark of Sen. Risa Hontiveros calling President Rodrigo Duterte the “single biggest threat to human rights” in the Philippines.
Contrary to criticisms of alleged rising human rights abuses under the Duterte administration, the President respects human rights, presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a Palace briefing on Monday.
“Of course. We’ve been saying so and we have shown it. We prosecute people who violate human rights,” he said.
Earlier on Monday, Hontiveros issued a statement to commemorate International Human Rights day, saying that the “President has singlehandedly rolled back human rights safeguards and made the country a haven for human rights violators.”
“She’s is entitled to her opinion,” Panelo said. “She’s been saying that since she became a senator or after the assumption of the President.”
The Palace official said: “Human rights, as depicted by the critics, as well as those critics from abroad, do not reflect what is happening on the ground.”
“When they keep on saying that many have been killed, they make it appear as if the killings are state initiated,” he added. “But we have repeatedly said that the fact alone that policemen are killed during operation will already rebut the theory that this is state initiated.”
He said that “even prior to the assumption of the presidency” of then Davao City Mayor Duterte, “killings have occurred.”
“And we’ve been saying that these killings are the result of people in the drug syndicate — they want to silence people from naming their accomplices, they want to silence people from pointing to them; and some of them could be deals or fraudulent deals between and amongst them,” Panelo said.
“Killings only come in connection with police operations when the suspects resist violently and endanger the lives of those in the operation,” he added. “And as we have shown in the Kian [delos Santos] case, it was the President himself who ordered the arrest and the detention and he categorically stated that such conviction cannot yield to a pardon from him because it was done intentionally and not in accordance with the duty imposed to the policemen by law.” /atm
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