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duterte robredo

Must pursue role without interference by supporters

Vice President Leni Robredo’s “backers” must not intervene, as she performs her duties as co-chair of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD), Malacañang said on Saturday.

“The Vice President must be given a wide latitude in outlining her own anti-illegal drug scheme and pursue, without interference from other quarter backers, her own agenda, which she envisions to be effective in addressing the drug menace,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a statement.
Robredo held her first meeting with ICAD member agencies at her office in New Manila, Quezon City on Friday afternoon, two days after she accepted President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s challenge to lead the anti-narcotics campaign by serving as co-chair of the anti-drug body.
She will serve as ICAD co-chairperson, along with Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Director General Aaron Aquino, until June 30, 2022.
After her first ICAD meeting, Robredo set the tone for an evidence-based approach to the drug problem, which she said would prevent “senseless” killings in the conduct of operations against drug personalities.
While she emphasized that the drug problem in the country “should first be solved internally,” Robredo was amenable to a possible intervention of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), if the Philippine government fails to punish drug offenders.
The 47-man UNHRC on July 11 adopted the Iceland-led resolution that seeks a probe into Duterte’s war on illegal drugs. The adoption of the resolution mandates UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet to present a “comprehensive” report on the drug war in the Philippines during the council’s 44th session in June 2020.
On July 17, the President made it clear that he would ignore the investigation that would be initiated by the UNHRC, as he is only inclined to face a “Philippine court.”
“We take note that the Vice President called for the meeting to acquaint herself on the status of the government’s campaign against illegal drugs, a step demonstrative of her willingness to suspend all her negative notions about the drug war, mostly based on false, if not exaggerated, information and media hype,” Panelo said.
He urged the public, especially those who are opposed to the government’s campaign against illegal drugs, to refrain from creating “roadblocks and imagined conflicts” that may sow discord between Robredo and the ICAD members.
“We call on everybody to give VP Leni space, allow her to perform her assigned task and not to create roadblocks and imagined conflicts, pitting her against her fellow workers of government by way of intrigues, as well as wild and off-tangent speculations engineered by the usual suspects,” Panelo said.
Members of the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team stand guard as they gather male residents on a basketball court during an anti-drug operation at an informal settlers area in Manila

No Duterte order for ‘bloody’ drug war

About 5,779 drug personalities died in legitimate police anti-drug operations from July 1, 2016 to Aug. 31, 2019, based on data released by the Philippine National Police (PNP) on November 6.
Despite the drug-related killings, Panelo said the President did not order a “bloody” war against drug suspects.
“In that meeting, VP Leni stressed that the campaign against illegal narcotics can succeed even without bloodshed,” he said. “Noting that the pronounced policy of the Drug Czar appears to be in direct contrast of what they wrongly perceive to be the bloody strategy of PRRD, the detractors and nitpickers pounce on the apparent strategic contradiction and have raised the specter of, even this early, a collision between the appointee and the appointing power.”
The PNP and the PDEA have assured Robredo that the government’s anti-drug operations would be conducted within the bounds of the law.
Aquino has asked Robredo to join actual operations against illegal drugs for a better understanding of the anti-narcotics drive.
Robredo accepted the offer, saying that she would like to see the real drug situation in the country.
Panelo said the Palace is “pleased” with Robredo’s openness to joining any operation by the PDEA or the PNP against drug lords and pushers, “without putting her life in peril.”
“She may see the hostile and mortal realities on the ground that could pave the way for the reassessment of her previous adversarial position on the government’s relentless drive against prohibited drugs or her adoption of better and effective measures not heretofore done,” he said.
Solve problems internally
After her meeting with the ICAD, Robredo said she believes the Philippines should initially be given a chance to solve its illegal drug problems internally.
“I have said this time and again that I feel that our problem should first be solved internally. If I was already of the impression after going around, after meeting with the different clusters, after having all the information that I need to have, if I believe that the government is not doing anything to punish whoever needs to be punished or to put to justice whatever needs to be put to justice, then I don’t have any problems with inviting them over,” she said when asked by a reporter regarding her position in letting the UN conduct a review on the country’s situation with regards to its anti-illegal drug campaign.
Meanwhile, Robredo said her meeting with the ICAD as its new co-chair has updated her on what relevant agencies have been implementing to stop the proliferation of drugs, during which the Philippine Anti-Illegal Drugs Strategy (PADS) was also discussed.
While the initial meeting was only intended to brief the vice president, Robredo said she proposed the addition of two success indicators in the PADS – the monitoring of the surrenderers and the progress of those who have undergone rehabilitation. (PNA)

Palace slams ‘unfortunate’ European Parliament resolution


Malacañang on Friday described as “unfortunate” the European Parliament’s resolution calling for an end to the alleged extrajudicial killings amid the country’s intensified campaign against illegal drugs.

“We, of course, find it unfortunate that members of the European Parliament once again interfered with the affairs of the Philippine state, rehashing issues and baseless claims that have been explained adequately by the Philippine government in several official statements,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a Palace press briefing.
“We reiterate that the Philippine administration — the government under the administration of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte — does not engage in so-called extrajudicial killings,” he said.
Roque also refuted claims that 12,000 have already been killed since Duterte began his anti-illegal drugs campaign upon assumption of office in 2016.
“We challenge them — where are your data, the evidence of 12,000 who died? Impunity doesn’t have a place in our society and we continue to follow process and hold officers accountable for their actions,” he explained.
Government date showed about 4,100 people have been killed in anti-drug operations.
Legal arrest
On the European Parliament’s call for the release of Senator Leila de Lima, Roque said de Lima’s arrest on illegal drug charges has been declared legal with finality by the Supreme Court.
He reminded the European Parliament that the Philippine justice system is working and that the executive department does not interfere with the judiciary.
“The judiciary is working. The lower courts and the Supreme Court are not influenced by the politicians,” Roque said.
The European Parliament’s resolution also asked the Philippine government to remove UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous People Victoria Tauli-Corpuz from the list of terrorists.
NPA links
Roque, meanwhile, explained that military intelligence reports claim that Corpuz has links to the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army.
Tauli-Corpuz, he said, has not yet been tagged as terrorist since her case is still in court.
“Ms. Corpuz can submit controverting evidence linking her with the terrorist group. We will allow the court to decide,” he said.
Roque called on members of the European Parliament to exercise prudence in issuing resolutions.
“We understand a number of whom we have close ties with the local political opposition who tried to distort realities that we have a working democracy, where people now enjoy peace and order,” he said.
Roque said he finds the European Parliament’s resolution inconsistent with the European Union’s recent move to give financial assistance for the Philippines’ war on drugs.
“I find it inconsistent that the European parliament will condemn the war against drugs which is now also being financed partly by the European Union,” he said.
He clarified that the Philippines has no problem with the EU, noting that “perhaps it is the EU that should communicate with the European parliament.”
On the European Parliament’s call for EU to remove the Philippines from the UN Human Rights Council, Roque said it will be decided by the UN system itself.
“The members of the UN Human Rights Council are elected by the general assembly. That’s a call to be made by the general assembly,” he pointed out.
Roque said he is expecting the Department of Foreign Affairs to take the necessary steps to what he called unfair action by the European Parliament. (PNA)



I would not allow drug syndicates and organized crime groups to destroy the young generation of the country

President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday reiterated his promise to finish his campaign against illegal drugs until his last day in Malacanang, with or without investigations initiated by the International Criminal Court (ICC) and other human rights groups.
“The drugs. Whether human rights will believe or not, it is not my business to do with their biddings. I have a duty to perform and worse, I made it a solemn promise,” Duterte said in his speech during the 10th Filipina Entrepreneurship Summit at the World Trade Center in Pasay City.
“So the war against drugs will continue with or without the ICC, with or without the human rights (groups), with or without the politicians. It will last until the last day of my term as President,” he added.
Duterte said he would not allow drug syndicates and organized crime groups to destroy the young generation of the country.
“Do not destroy it because I will kill you. Do not put to naught my toil and destroy the young of my country because I will really kill you,” he said.
In a separate speech he delivered during the oath taking rites of Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) officials at Malacanang Palace, Duterte said ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda “cannot acquire jurisdiction over me, not in a million years.”
“That’s why I’m not answering. That’s true. I don’t want to say that has always been my weapon ever since. Don’t believe them. They cannot ever, ever hope to acquire jurisdiction over my person,” he said.
Last month, Malacanang announced that the Office of the Prosecutor of the ICC will start its preliminary investigation on the alleged extrajudicial killings linked to the government’s anti-drugs campaign.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, however, clarified that the preliminary examination only aims to collect and verify information to determine if there is “reasonable basis” to go on with a preliminary investigation.
Roque has defended the government’s war on drugs, saying it is a lawful and legitimate police operation that “cannot be characterized as an attack against civilian populations.”
“It is a lawful use of force and therefore, we submit likewise on the merits the element of directing an attack against civilian populations is simply lacking,” Roque said in a previous media briefing.
Aside from the ICC, United Nations Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary and arbitrary executions Agnes Callamard has also expressed willingness to investigate deaths linked to campaign against illegal drugs.
Roque, however, had said Callamard has no credibility to investigate because the UN Special Rapporteur had already prejudged the government’s anti-narcotics campaign. (PNA)