Duterte supporters stage a rally in Cagayan de Oro on the same day.
Gerry Lee Gorit
Philippines reaffirms commitment to human rights
Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) - December 11, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Rule of law prevails in the Duterte administration’s campaign against crime and other threats, Malacañang said yesterday, as critics decried what they described as the deteriorating human rights situation in the country.

In a statement for the global observance of the 70th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea said the administration remains “unrelenting” in its crusade against criminality, corruption, terrorism, insurgency and illegal drugs that destroy families and the future of the young.

Medialdea added that the crusade seeks to protect the lives of innocent law-abiding citizens.

“In all these, the rule of law is upheld as the guilty are brought before the bar of justice,” Medialdea said.

While critics claim President Duterte’s bloody war on illegal drugs has tarnished the Philippines’ global reputation, presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo maintained that the President respects human rights, citing the conviction of the policemen who murdered teenager Kian delos Santos last year.

“It was the President himself who ordered the arrest and detention and he categorically stated that such conviction cannot yield to a pardon from him because it was done intentionally and not in accordance with the duty imposed to the policemen by law,” Panelo said.

“Human rights, as depicted by the critics, as well as those critics from abroad, do not reflect what is happening on the ground. When they keep on saying that many have been killed, they make it appear as if the killings are state initiated. But we have repeatedly said the fact alone that policemen are killed during operations will already rebut the theory that this is state initiated,” Panelo said at a press briefing.

Panelo added that the killing of drug suspects has been happening even before Duterte assumed office.

“We’ve been saying that these killings are the result of people in the drug syndicate – they want to silence people from naming their accomplices, they want to silence people from pointing to them; and some of them could be deals or fraudulent deals between and among them,” the presidential spokesman said.  – With Helen Flores, Pia Lee-Brago, Ding Cervantes

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