Philippines expects "fairness" from US over extrajudicial killings reports
The Duterte administration expects "fairness" from the United States as it branded as "false" reports there were close to 9,000 people killed due to the government's war on illegal drugs.
"On the number of extrajudicial deaths, the persistent news reports of 7,000 killed, which is now being said to be close to 9,000, is false news," said Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella on Friday.
For the period July 1, 2016, shortly after President Rodrigo Duterte assumed post, up to March 24, he said the Philippine National Police has accounted for 6,011 homicide investigation, which was initially called as "deaths under investigation."
"Of this number, only 1,398 cases are found to be drug-related contrary to news reports that there are now close to 9,000 killed connected with the campaign against illegal drugs," the Palace official said in a statement.
Abella made the explanation after Patrick Murphy, US deputy assistant secretary of state for Southeast Asia, has raised concern over the increasing number of alleged extrajudicial killings in the Philippines.
"We however do have a very sustained and deep concern when elements of the drug war are operating outside the rule of law...the growing number of extrajudicial killings is troubling," Murphy said in a news report.
Abella said the Duterte government shares Murphy's concern.
But he said, "we expect fairness and not a rush to judgment."
"Right now the people appreciate the changes and the way these are carried out. We ask to be understood not just from a single perspective, but from the point of view of Filipinos who desire change, stability and fairness," he said.
Abella also said the local authorities follow operational protocols and the proper enforcement of the Philippine laws requires the use of reasonable force merited by the attendant circumstances.
"Those who breach procedures are made to answer before the law. The Philippine National Police has an Internal Affairs Service (IAS) tasked to probe police accused of such violations," he said, explaining that the body can suspend or dismiss PNP personnel based on violations incurred and can recommend the filing of criminal charges. Celerina Monte/DMS