Karapatan slams Duterte’s suggestion for Marcos Jr. to continue drug war despite CHR’s damning report on killings

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Human rights alliance Karapatan slammed on Tuesday President Rodrigo Duterte’s suggestion for Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to continue the drug war under his administration — days after the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) released its report on the killings in the drug war, which detailed how the Duterte administration has “encouraged a culture of impunity.”

“Despite the CHR’s damning report indicting the Duterte administration for failure to protect human rights in the sham and bloody drug war, Duterte wants the incoming Marcos-Duterte administration to continue this murderous campaign. Without doubt, what this only means is more killings, and even more impunity,” Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay said.

In a press briefing last Thursday, May 26, Marcos Jr. disclosed to reporters that he and Duterte had met several times even before the elections, and that the outgoing president asserted the continuation of the drug war in one of their conversations. Marcos Jr. also suggested that Duterte is welcome to join his incoming administration as its anti-drug czar.

As of April 2022, at least 6,248 have been killed in anti-drug operations, according to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency. The CHR’s report, which was completed last April, presented 882 drug-related cases involving 1,139 victims, and it found that “the government has failed in its obligation to respect and protect the human rights of every citizen, in particular, victims of drug-related killings.”

“The culture of impunity is even more highlighted by the lack of effective, prompt, and transparent accountability mechanisms to address the drug-related killings,” the CHR further stated in its report. Palabay asserted that such findings should push international mechanisms such as the International Criminal Court (ICC) to continue their investigations.

“The CHR’s report clearly states, verbatim, that ‘justice remains elusive’ for the victims of the sham drug war and their families — precisely because of the failure of domestic accountability mechanisms due to the Duterte administration’s blatant efforts to stonewall independent inquiries and investigations. The ICC should therefore resume its investigations as soon as possible to prosecute Duterte,” she continued.

Nevertheless, the Karapatan official averred that, with Marcos Jr.’s pledge to not allow ICC investigators to enter the country, “we suspect that the incoming Marcos-Duterte administration will place more roadblocks in the people’s struggle for justice and accountability, and to continue the Duterte administration’s legacy of impunity.”

“Therefore, our struggle for justice and accountability lies in our continuing resistance to tyranny and dictatorship. The fight to defend people’s rights and to call to stop the killings in the Philippines is now more urgent than ever. We cannot allow the killings to continue for another six years. We cannot allow impunity and terror to reign,” she ended.