Malacañang hits HRW proposal to probe cops’ liability in drug war

MANILA — Malacañang on Tuesday slammed the proposal of Human Rights Watch (HRW) urging the Duterte administration to create an independent commission to investigate the alleged involvement of police personnel in the killing of drug suspects.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo described the proposal as “reckless” noting that the HRW should not merely rely on an interview with a police official as basis to conduct a probe.

Last week, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief for Central Visayas, Chief Supt. Debold Dinas, bared that policemen in Cebu and nearby provinces are being hired by drug lords as hitmen.

“This proposal by the Human Rights Watch (HRW) for the creation of an independent commission to go after police officers allegedly involved in the killing of drug suspects smacks of another effort of this moribund group, which projects itself as a human rights organization, to intrude into our domestic affairs,” Panelo said in a press statement.

“Its inference from an interview of a lone police official cannot be a valid ground for such reckless proposal,” he added.

Panelo said the HRW’s proposal is “no different” from accusations hurled by critics of the Duterte administration’s aggressive campaign against illegal drugs.

He said that HRW merely resurrected an old issue, which is clearly meant to “undermine the integrity of the government’s institutional mechanisms.”

According to Panelo, there is a need to correct the minds of Filipinos from what he described as “misinformation” being propagated by the HRW.

He, meanwhile, assured that existing mechanism is in place to deal with erring cops such as the PNP’s Internal Affairs Service (IAS) which continues to conduct internal cleansing within the organization.

Moreover, he said an independent Commission on Human Rights (CHR) and Congress, a co-equal branch of government, continues to conduct investigations on reported abuses of authorities.

Panelo also reminded human rights groups, especially foreign ones, to quit interfering with domestic affairs.

“These, among other governmental bodies engaged in counterbalancing measures, are functioning. We thus reiterate our position that we do not need schooling from outsiders on how to run the country,” Panelo said.

President Rodrigo R. Duterte earlier criticized the European Union (EU) for interfering in his administration’s drug war efforts.

Duterte has repeatedly defended his war on drugs, noting that police personnel killing criminals in their line of duty is not considered crime against humanity.

In March, Duterte announced that he has decided to withdraw the Philippines’ ratification of the Rome Statute, a United Nations (UN) treaty creating the International Criminal Court.

This, after the ICC Office of the Prosecutor bared in February that it would begin preliminary examination on the crimes against humanity linked to the administration’s drug war.

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