Palace accuses New York Times of being ‘one-sided’
“There are two sides in every story,” Malacañang said on Monday in response to a viral New York Times article on the Duterte administration’s bloody war on drugs.
“The New York Times article [titled] ‘They are Slaughtering Us Like Animals,’ dated 7 December 2016 is totally one-sided as it depicts the Philippines as the Wild, Wild West in this part of the world,” Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said in a statement. “This is farthest from the truth.”
Andanar accused the reporter, Daniel Berehulak, of not doing thorough research.
“If the reporter had bothered to check the facts of the 3,000 deaths under investigation by the Philippine National Police, only 1,080 are drug-related,” he said. “The rest are murder and homicide cases perpetrated by gunmen which the Philippine National Police (PNP) is now investigating, the results of which will be made public in due time.”
In his article, which featured photos of murder victims, Berehulak talked about the police operations and vigilante killings that he documented within the 35 days that he was in the Philippines.
The author said vigilantes seem to be “taking seriously Mr. Duterte’s call to ‘slaughter them all.’”
Andanar insisted that the police had nothing to do with the homicide cases perpetrated by unidentified gunmen.
“The President has not given any direct order for them to kill drug dealers and users on mere suspicion. Police operatives only neutralize those who violently resist arrest, or else they could be the ones who end up dead,” he said.
The Secretary also pointed out that “there are police officers who have already died or been killed in the war on drugs.”
“This demonstrates the magnitude of the drug problem in the country and the need for resolute and decisive response by law enforcement,” he said.
Andanar did not mention how many police officers have died because of the drug war. According to the Philippine National Police’s tally for December 12, 19 police officers have been killed during police operations since July 1.
The Secretary said President Rodrigo Duterte will support police officers involved in the drug war.
“Do your job and you will have the unwavering support of the Office of the President. I will be with you all the way. Abuse your authority and there will be hell to pay, for you will have become worse than criminality itself,” Duterte said during his first State of the Nation Address.
Andanar said foreign media should “present both sides of the story when reporting on the Philippine war on drugs.”
“We in government, including the Philippine National Police and other law enforcement agencies, would be more than willing to help in unearthing the truth and presenting the facts about the drug menace to the public,” he said.
An independent count by Inquirer shows that at least 1,775 suspected drug users and peddlers have been killed since Duterte became president./ac
READ: Kill list
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