Palace: De Lima cases criminal in nature
Malacañang on Monday chided the New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) for urging foreign governments to assail the Duterte administration over the indictment of Sen. Leila de Lima, arguing that the drug-related cases against her were “criminal in nature.”
“[HRW] banally disregards the right of a nation to protect its citizens against the menace of a global drug industry and terrorist-connected drug trade, and that it has done so with assumption of regularity,” presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said in a statement.
“De Lima’s case is not politically motivated. It is, simply put, ‘criminal in nature.’ The human rights organization might bear that in mind before it attempts to obligate the Duterte administration,” he added.
Abella said HRW “profusely quotes” the claims of confessed assassin Edgar Matobato, who had told a Senate inquiry that he was a member of the dreaded Davao Death Squad (DDS) which Mr. Duterte created to kill petty criminals when he was mayor of Davao City.
Phelim Kine, HRW deputy Asia director, on Sunday assailed the filing of cases against De Lima, saying it was “an act of political vindictiveness that debases” the country’s rule of law.
Then the chair of the Commission of Human Rights, De Lima had been critical of Mr. Duterte’s alleged role in the summary killings of criminals in Davao by the DDS.
In reply, Abella said HRW “blithely ignores” that nearly 1 million Filipino drug users had yielded to authorities in the wake of the President’s bloody take-no-prisoners strategy against illegal drugs.