Palace downplays US report noting EJKs, threats against media
Malacañang on Saturday lauded the “objectivity and balance” of the global human rights report of the US Department of State for 2018, even as it downplayed continued reports of extrajudicial killings (EJKs), rights abuses and threats against media.
“The level of objectivity and balance of the 44-page US state department’s [report] reflects the US government’s appreciation of the Duterte administration’s governance agenda anchored on fighting corruption, criminality and illegal drugs,” presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said.
The Palace said it preferred “to see the glass half full and focus on the positive aspects of the report” as the political opposition and President Rodrigo Duterte’s detractors would certainly dwell on the negative observations in the report.
“We urge the public to read the report in its entirety so that they may not be deceived by intended negative and false commentaries,” Panelo said.
“While the report also cites the usual criticisms against the administration, we reiterate that the [Duterte administration has] never sponsored any form of violation of human rights nor will [it] tolerate them,” he said.
Panelo said the report assessed developments in the government’s antidrug campaign and opined that it was “respectful of the government’s deeper challenges.”
He noted that the report cited the conviction of three policemen tagged in the killing of Kian delos Santos and that 1,274,148 individuals had surrendered for drug rehabilitation.
“The report acknowledges the government’s efforts to promote speedy disposition of inmate cases, including the use of plea bargaining,” he said.
The US state department report was “also sympathetic to the government’s challenges in the peace process” and recognized the rights violations by Muslim separatists, communist insurgents and terrorist groups, including the use of child soldiers by communist insurgents, Panelo added.
The peaceful barangay elections last year was also mentioned in the report.
“If only for these positive observations, and there are more, we find the 2018 report by the US state department relevant,” Panelo said.
“We note that there may be isolated accounts of abuse on the part of [our] law enforcers. We continue to address them and hold the transgressors accountable,” Panelo said.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.