Saying that Kine, a former deputy director for Asia of the New York-based Human Rights Watch, has prejudged Duterte, presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo backed Locsin, who warned Kine that he will be denied entry if he tries to come to the Philippines.
STAR/File
Rights defender should be barred from Philippine — Palace
Christina Mendez (The Philippine Star) - November 13, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA,Philippines — Malacañang supported the call of Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. yesterday to bar human rights defender Phelim Kine from entering the country and advising Vice President Leni Robredo, who was appointed by President Duterte as co-chair of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD).

Saying that Kine, a former deputy director for Asia of the New York-based Human Rights Watch, has prejudged Duterte, presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo backed Locsin, who warned Kine that he will be denied entry if he tries to come to the Philippines.

Despite insisting that the Palace would give Robredo a free hand to map out a strategy to revitalize the government’s war against drugs, Panelo said Kine is not welcome in the country.

“He has already reached a conclusion that this is a murderous country. Then he said arrest Duterte,” Panelo said at a regular press briefing yesterday. 

“Anybody who gives a conclusion that there has been killings, murders without justification, they have a problem,” Panelo said in a mix of English and Filipino.

Kine posted on his Twitter account on Monday, “Dear (Vice President Leni Robredo), my bags are packed and I’m ready to come to the Philippines to help advise how to end this murderous ‘drug war,’” followed by a recommendation to “arrest Duterte and his henchmen for inciting (and) instigating mass murder.”

His tweet was a response to a report by The STAR, which said Robredo would meet with government officials and United Nations officers for best practices in the campaign against illegal drugs.

Additional budget up to Congress

Meanwhile, Duterte thumbed down Robredo’s request for an increase in the ICAD budget under the P4.1-trillion General Appropriations Act for 2020.  

Panelo said the President noted that the appropriations act had already been forwarded to Congress, which is now deliberating it.

“The VP wants to augment the income (of ICAD). The President and I talked about this, and he said that’s the problem because it’s already in the budget. Whatever’s in the budget, that’s it. So she should just ask Congress for it. That will not change,” Panelo said.

Robredo is asking for an increase in the budget of ICAD, which now stands at P15 million. Reports said there is no specific line item for the ICAD in the proposed 2020 budget. 

Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, however, said some P15 million of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency’s proposed budget next year is allotted for the government body that oversees the anti-drug campaign.

The Dangerous Drugs Board, on the other hand, is seeking P366 million in funding for 2020.

The Philippine National Police, meanwhile, has allotted P142.51 billion for “police patrol operations and other confidential activities” against drug trafficking and other crimes.

ICAD INTER-AGENCY COMMITTEE ON ANTI-ILLEGAL DRUGS TEODORO LOCSIN JR.
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