Palace: No entry in Philippines for drug war critics
MANILA, Philippines—Anybody who claimed that there have been unlawful killings in the Philippines’ crackdown against illegal drugs without justification cannot enter the country, Malacañang said Tuesday.
Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo issued the statement as the Palace backed Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin, Jr.’s warning to deny the entry of Phelim Kine, former deputy director for Asia of the New York-based Human Rights Watch, if he tries to come into the Philippines to “advise” Vice President Leni Robredo on how to end the “murderous” drug war of the Duterte administration.
“Anybody who has reached the conclusion that there have been killings and murders without justification, may problema sila (then they have a problem),” Panelo said in a Palace briefing.
Panelo noted that human rights advocates like Kine who have already “reached a conclusion that this is a murderous country” are not welcome in the country.
Locsin on Monday said Kline “can’t get into the country” as the latter said he was ready to come to the Philippines anytime to “help advise how to end this murderous ‘drug war’” after Robredo was appointed by President Duterte as cochair of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs.
Since taking power in 2016, Duterte has made the crackdown on illegal drugs the focal point of his administration, continuing the brutal campaign against which he used in Davao City while being its mayor.
Local and international human rights watchdogs have expressed their opposition to Duterte’s drug war, citing alleged violations of human rights, which the government vehemently denied.
Panelo, who is also Duterte’s chief legal counsel, noted that the government would only allow “experts” to advise Robredo on the drug war and not those who intend to impinge the country’s sovereignty.
“Ibang usapan ‘yun kung meron ka nang conclusion tapos kung ‘yung pagpasok mo intrusion sa ating sovereignty (It’s another thing if you already have a conclusion about the country and you enter intruding our sovereignty),” he said.
Robredo advocates on solving the drug menace from a health, social and community perspective, including prevention and treatment rather than a largely police-centered approach. /je
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