CHR hopes for ‘better’ human rights observance with Robredo in anti-drug panel

Vice-President Leni Robredo (R) attends a press conference with Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency chief Aaron Aquino in Manila on Nov. 8, 2019.
AFP/Maria Tan

MANILA, Philippines — The Commission of Human Rights expressed hope that Vice President Leni Robredo’s appointment as the co-chair of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs will change the approach on the government’s controversial campaign.

CHR spokesperson Jacqueline De Guia on Tuesday welcomed Robredo’s acceptance of co-chairmanship of ICAD, a multi-agency panel implementing the campaign against illegal drugs.

“Being a vocal advocate of human rights, we hope that this translates into the better observance of human rights standards, including greater transparency in drug operations,” De Guia said.

She added that CHR is hoping there will be investigations into alleged cases of extrajudicial killings and illegal arrests, and, more importantly, demand for accountability “from all those who violated laws and desecrated human dignity” with Robredo co-leading ICAD.

President Rodrigo Duterte designated Robredo as co-chair of ICAD over her criticism of the government’s war on drugs, which she said needs to be reassessed and revamped.

Two days after she accepted the post—seen by her allies as a “trap” to tarnish her—Robredo met with the body and vowed to put an end to “senseless” killings.

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Robredo on Monday met with representatives from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime to discuss the “best practices” of other countries in combating illegal drugs.

The vice president has been calling on the administration to treat the drug problem not just as a law enforcement issue but a health issue as well.

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