MANILA, Philippines – The Duterte administration does not condone unlawful killings in its anti-crime campaign as it is firmly committed to respecting and upholding human rights, Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. told a recent forum organized by a US think tank.
In his first policy address as DFA chief, Yasay told the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington that the Duterte administration is determined to establish a government free of corruption and criminality.
“We do not and will never condone any unlawful killings, and Philippine authorities have been instructed to immediately look into these incidents and bring the perpetrators to justice,” Yasay said.
“In the book of President Duterte and in my book, extrajudicial killing has no place in our society,” he added.
In this picture taken on July 8, 2016, police officers investigate the dead body of an alleged drug dealer, his face covered with packing tape and a placard reading “I’m a pusher”, on a street in Manila. Getty Images
The rising death toll in the government’s vicious campaign to eliminate illegal drugs and other forms of criminality has sparked concerns in the international community, particularly from the US and the United Nations.
In his address, Yasay said full respect for human rights and upholding the value and dignity of every person are government’s commitment enshrined in the Philippine Constitution. Duterte, he stressed, has repeatedly voiced his commitment to uphold the Constitution.
“We will not veer from this,” Yasay said, noting that law enforcement agencies are bound by legal procedures and strict operational protocols.
Duterte has made it clear that law enforcement authorities are to apprehend criminals, and that the use of force may only be considered if the law enforcement officer’s life is threatened.
The DFA chief admitted being bothered by the negative response by some quarters to the stepped up war on criminality. The “extensive media coverage on the Philippines’ war on drugs and corruption is not lost on us,” he lamented.
The Philippines’ war against drugs, he said, involves stopping the supply of illegal drugs, curbing demand, and sending drug offenders to jail and giving them chance to undergo rehabilitation.
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