Cayetano tells HRW: Apologize to PH for ‘false conclusion’ on drug war
Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano has demanded an apology from international group Human Rights Watch (HRW) as he refuted its insinuation that the Duterte administration is engaged in the “wholesale slaughter of innocent people.”
“It is about time Human Rights Watch stops politicizing the war we are waging against illegal drugs at the expense of the Philippines and the Filipino people,” Cayetano said in a statement on Friday.
“It owes the Philippines and the rest of the international community not just an explanation but also an apology for making unfair accusations by skewing the real numbers just so it could advance its own agenda,” he also said.
Cayetano made the remark after HRW accused the government of pursuing a “distraction strategy” to evade accountability for the rising death toll in the war on drugs.
The HRW, in a statement on Monday, January 22, also maintained its claim that more than 12,000 have died in the Philippines’ anti-drug campaign under President Rodrigo Duterte.
“(The claim) could not be possible since this number failed to take into consideration the number of homicides and murders that have also been taking place all across the country,” Cayetano noted.
“In making such a conclusion, Human Rights Watch is creating the impression that the Philippine Government is engaged in the wholesale slaughter of innocent people. This assertion is false,” he said.
Cayetano said HRW was engaged in “outright deception” for failing to explain how it came up with the huge death toll, even claiming that the organization “has not really done any real investigation on the ground.”
“Instead of just telling us how it was able to come up with its figures, Human Rights Watch unfortunately chose to divert the issue,” he asserted.
Citing data from the Philippine National Police (PNP), Cayetano said that 3,968 drug suspects were killed in 80,683 police operations from the day Duterte assumed office until November 27, 2017.
“This means there is one unfortunate death for every 20 presumed law enforcement operations conducted. These operations also resulted in the arrest of 119,023 drug personalities,” Cayetano said.
“This means that for every drug personality killed in a police operation, there were 30 others who were taken into custody,” he added.
However, Cayetano admitted “there is no perfect law enforcement system.”
“While we strive to ensure that we respect the rights of everyone, including criminal suspects, the reality is that illegal drug syndicates are also capable of unleashing violence,” the DFA chief pointed out.
Instead of “outrightly crucifying” the government, Cayetano said HRW should hear the stories of victims of “gang rapes and killings by methamphetamine-crazed individuals.”
“It should also ask ordinary Filipinos how they feel about their government’s efforts to ensure their personal safety and security,” he noted. /kga
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