We’ll probe the drug killings, US told
THE Philippines has vowed to investigate reports of a wave of extrajudicial killings, the government said yesterday, after Washington warned military aid to its Asian ally was dependent on respect for human rights.
According to media reports, nearly 1000 people have been killed since President Rodrigo Duterte won a landslide election victory in May largely on a pledge to kill thousands of criminals.
The United States embassy warned the Duterte government on August 12 that millions of dollars of military aid allotted to the Philippines was tied to adherence to the rule of law, due process and respect for human rights.
“We are concerned by reports regarding extrajudicial killings of individuals suspected to have been involved in drug activity in the Philippines,” it said.
“We strongly urge the Philippines to ensure its law enforcement efforts are consistent with its human rights obligations,” the embassy added.
A Philippine foreign department statement yesterday said that it took note of US views on the issue, adding Manila was focused on the eradication of drugs in society.
“Nevertheless, while pursuing this objective, the Philippine government is committed to the rule of law, and the protection of human rights for all.”
It added, “We do not condone any unlawful killings and Philippine authorities have been instructed to immediately look into these incidents and bring the perpetrators to justice.”
Police said on August 12 they had killed 550 drug suspects while arresting nearly 8000 others since after the May elections.
However, ABS-CBN, the country’s largest broadcaster, said more than 400 other people have been killed since then by shadowy assassins who leave cardboard signs beside their victims, accusing them of narcotics crimes. –