Palace: US State Department report inconsistent with Trump's statements
US President Donald Trump and President Rodrigo Duterte are seatmates at the ASEAN gala dinner in Manila.
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Palace: US State Department report inconsistent with Trump's statements
Patricia Lourdes Viray ( - April 23, 2018 - 2:09pm

MANILA, Philippines — The US Department of State's country reports on human rights practices appear to be inconsistent with previous statements of US President Donald Trump, Malacañang said Monday.

In the human rights report released Saturday (Manila time), the US Department of State noted that extrajudicial killings remain the chief human rights concern in the Philippines following a sharp rise with the onset of the so-called war on drugs.

Citing Trump's previous praises to Duterte's campaign against illegal drugs, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said that he was "lost" when he read the report.

READ: State Department report: EJKs still 'chief' human rights concern in Philippines

"I personally heard the discussion between President Trump and President Duterte when they were here in the Philippines during the ASEAN Summit and I think I heard words from President Trump praising President Duterte including the war on drugs," Roque said in a news briefing.

The Malacañang spokesman noted that there has been a change in leadership in the US State Department during the period that the report was being prepared.

Just last month, Trump dismissed former State Secretary Rex Tillerson through a tweet and later nominated CIA Director Mike Pompeo to be the new US top diplomat.

"I do not know how to reconcile the State Department report with the actual statement of the president but for now we're going with the statements of President Trump that we all heard from the mouth of President Trump," Roque said in a televised press briefing.

In response to the US State Department report, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano pointed out that the war on drugs seeks to promote the welfare and protect the human rights of Filipinos.

The Philippines' top diplomat assured the international community that the Philippine government remains guided by the rule of law in carrying out the campaign against illegal drugs.

"We do not need others who think they know better than us Filipinos to tell us what to do. As a sovereign nation, the Philippines deserves the same kind of respect we have been extending to our friends in the international community," Cayetano said in a statement released Saturday.

In its human rights report, the US State Department noted that Duterte publicly rejected criticism of police killings but said that authorities would look into any actions taken outside the rule of law.

"The most significant human rights issues included: killings by security forces, vigilantes and others allegedly connected to the government, and by insurgents; torture and abuse of prisoners and detainees by security forces; often harsh and life threatening prison conditions; warrantless arrests by security forces and cases of apparent government disregard for legal rights and due process; political prisoners; killings of and threats against journalists; official corruption and abuse of power; threats of violence against human rights activists; violence against women; and forced labor," the report read.

RELATED: US: No conflict in rights report, Trump-Duterte ties

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