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Cayetano on Al Jazeera interview: My info was verified

In an interview with Al Jazeera, Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano defended anew President Rodrigo Duterte’s drug war by making a sweeping claim that all 3,800 people killed under the deadly crackdown were all drug dealers. Screen grab from Al Jazeera's YouTube video

MANILA, Philippines — Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano on Thursday stressed that he was not spreading misinformation when he went on an interview with Al Jazeera last week.

In his interview with British journalist Mehdi Hasan, Cayetano defended President Rodrigo Duterte's war on drugs.

Cayetano claimed in the interview that all 3,800 who were killed in police operations since Duterte took office were drug dealers.

READ: Fact-checking Cayetano's interview on Al Jazeera

"All my information is verified. It’s official government statistics," Cayetano told reporters at the sidelines of the ASEAN High Level Forum in Pasay City.

During the interview, Hasan stressed that casualties of the drug war never tried and charged as they were shot on site.

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Explaining his side on Thursday, Cayetano said the host did not give him the chance to answer the way he wants to.

"Hindi naman nilabas ng Al Jazeera lahat ng numbers. He didn’t really give me the chance to answer the way I want to but 1.3 million have surrendered, more than 100,000 people have been arrested at the time of the interview," the secretary said.

Despite alarm bells raised by watchdogs and the United Nations' human rights commissioner, the Foreign Affairs chief claimed that the number of those who were arrested and killed in the conduct of the anti-illegal drugs campaign was within the ratio of other countries fighting the drug menace.

"So nung tinanong ako, 'Are they all?' Syempre they're presumed kaya nga 'yung category 'yung napatay because of drug operation. The numbers I cited was in that category," Cayetano said.

Cayetano stressed that he had explained the government's position during his interview with Al Jazeera.

"I have explained, what in my view, is the truth and what’s happening but... hindi tayo nagkakalat ng misinformation and I challenge anyone — Let’s sit down, kahit sa public, tell me which of the numbers I gave is misinformation," he said.

READ: All suspects killed in police ops were drug dealers, says Cayetano

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