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Palace welcomes petition urging SC to probe drug-related killings

President Rodrigo Duterte shows a list of government officials and police officers who are allegedly involved in the illegal drug trade in his speech during the 38th National Convention of the Philippine Association of Water Districts at the SMX Convention Center in Davao City on Feb. 2, 2017. The president further explains that around 6,000 police officers and 40 of the barangays in the country are linked to the illegal drug trade. Toto Lozano/Presidential Photo
MANILA, Philippines — The executive branch is ready to answer the petition asking the Supreme Court to compel state agencies to probe the killings tied to the Duterte administration’s crackdown on illegal drugs, Malacañang said Wednesday.
The petition, which was filed by a group of lawyers last September 22, urged the high court to order the heads of the Philippine National Police, Commission on Human Rights Chairman and the Department of Justice to look if the cases of alleged extrajudicial killings and arbitrary detentions whether or not related to the drug war.
The petitioners also want the agencies to release information detailing the number of summary executions and the measures undertaken to investigate the killings and prosecute the perpetrators.
Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said concerned agencies like the Justice department and the police welcome the petition and are prepared to respond to it.
“Authorities follow protocols and procedures during the conduct of police operations.  Drug-related killings form part of cases under investigation by the police, alongside murder and homicide cases,” Abella said.
Abella said state agencies are disclosing information about the investigations but are withholding details that may compromise law enforcement operations.
“The public is given access to the results of the investigation; however, specific details on ongoing investigations are only released when these details will not compromise the investigation, follow-up operations, and other related activities,” he added.
More than 6,000 deaths are being investigated, close to 1,400 of them drug-related, according to latest police data.
Duterte has denied endorsing extrajudicial killings, saying he is ready to prosecute and “slaughter” policemen involved in crimes. He also justified the brutal crackdown on illegal drugs, saying it is necessary to preserve the next generation.

Duterte won’t blame China for drugs

Despite the interception of P6.4 billion worth of shabu from China, Duterte won’t blame the Chinese government for the smuggling of illegal drugs.
Duterte said two syndicates namely the 14K based in Hong Kong and Bamboo based in Taiwan are taking charge of the drug trade in the region.
“The drug trade is being operated by the 14K, Bamboo Triad. They have taken over. They are cooking the shabu on the high seas. They will then throw it in Region 1 (Ilocos). There are many empty bins with Chinese character. It’s actually Taiwan,” the president said during the 120th anniversary of the justice department in Pasay last Tuesday.
“I cannot blame the Chinese government or the people because we were doing it here before,” he added.
Duterte said China, just like the Philippines, is experiencing troubles because of the drug menace.
“Every country has gangsters… Forty percent of the barangays in the Philippines are contaminated,” the president said.
Duterte said the Philippines has become a “transshipment” of illegal drugs bound for the United States.
“Genetically, I would say that America is the richest market. I don’t know why. (The market here) is small. There, even entertainment celebrities (are into drugs),” the president said.
“If America believes it fine. If not, fine. I already told them,” he added.
Duterte said he does not mind if his critics make an issue of the alleged extrajudicial killings every day.  
“God d*** i*….So araw-araw ito, hindi ito mahinto, nakikita ko kasi, sinasakyan talaga (It does not stop every day. They are exploiting it, EJK, EJK, EJK. So be it. So be it. Make it the issue all throughout my term,” the president said.
“I am not available anymore for reelection. So why should I be intimidated by the (Commission on) Human Rights,” he added.
The commission has been critical of the deaths attributed to the administration’s anti-drug war. — Alexis Romero 
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