Karapatan: Duterte admin continues to evade accountability on drug war killings, rights violations

Human rights alliance Karapatan today commented that “even as Pres.

Human rights alliance Karapatan today commented that “even as Pres. Rodrigo Duterte appointed Vice President Leni Robredo as co-chairperson of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs, his administration continues to evade accountability on the thousands of killings and human rights violations committed in the course of its bloody campaign against illegal drugs.”

“The government wants Robredo’s appointment to be tokenistic because they have no interest in being held accountable nor in looking for just and humane ways to address illegal drugs, even if they know that they have repeatedly failed. Now, they want to Robredo to be the scapegoat of their failures and to clean up their mess, all while setting her up for failure by ensuring that she would be unable to properly do her work,” Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay said.

Since Robredo’s appointment as anti-drug czar, the government has issued threats and contradicting statements regarding her appointment, barring her from attending Cabinet meetings, with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) denying her access to documents such as the “narco-list” of top drug suspects in the country.

Walang laglagan’ is the cry of Department of Interior and Local Government undersecretary Ricojudge Echiverri on Robredo’s request for access on the narco-list. If they have nothing to fear, why are they so desperately trying to hide this list from their co-chair? Why is the President so threatened with Robredo’s proposal to let independent bodies conduct investigations on the human rights violations involving the drug war, to the point that he is now threatening to fire her from the appointment he himself made? Stop the cover-up. You appointed her. You put her in that position. Now, face the consequences,” Palabay said.

The Karapatan official also slammed statements of Senators Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa and Bong Go during the recent Senate hearing on the budget of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) when they “frolicked in their utter ignorance and disgust on the concept of human rights and due process, with implementer of the bloody drug war and former Philippine National Police chief Bato even boasting that he could be the most effective CHR chair.”

Bato is delusional and utterly mistaken. The Senate is not a circus, but he continues to make a clown out of himself. It is an insult to the thousands of children and poor individuals brutally killed by State forces in the drug war without due process. But here’s a suggestion: Bato would definitely be an effective chair of the Commission on Human Rights Violations,” she continued.

"The Filipino people see through the many ways by which the Duterte administration evade accountability for these crimes. We support all efforts to seek just and humane ways to address the problem of illegal drugs in the country, as we also remain steadfast in supporting the call of the victims of extrajudicial killings and their families for justice and accountability,” Palabay ended.