“…Malacanang is either cooking up a scenario that will justify a massive tokhang-style killing of activists or it is one of those attempts to evade accountability from domestic and international human rights instruments.”
By RUTH LUMIBAO
MANILA — On March 26, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque affirmed Foreign Secretary Allan Peter Cayetano’s statement that ‘some human rights groups have become unwitting tools of drugs lords to hinder the strides made by the administration’ in its anti-drug campaign.
Roque even went as far as claiming that drug lords and drug money have been accomplices in attempts to destabilize the government.
Activists and human rights advocates said that such executive pronouncement, puts their lives in danger.
“With these recent accusations, Malacanang is either cooking up a scenario that will justify a massive tokhang-style killing of activists or it is one of those attempts to evade accountability from domestic and international human rights instruments. Either way, whatever they’re having in Malacanang will not be enough to numb them and enable their hallucinations in covering up the Duterte regime’s crimes against the people,” Karapatan Alliance for the Advancement of Human Rights (Karapatan) Secretary General Cristina Palabay said.
Bayan Muna Representative Carlos Isagani Zarate tagged Roque’s statement as ‘irresponsible’, as the Duterte administration “is obviously fond of drawing statements without evidence.” He warned that despite this ‘political spin’, Duterte and his cohorts ‘cannot hide that thousands have already died and been slaughtered due to their fake drug war.”
“It is very sad and ironic that under this government it is the human rights advocates who are on the terrorist list, while drug lords are exonerated of their crimes and it is the poor that are being killed. I think that this current fake news is a way to divert attention from the fact that the administration’s bloody war on drugs is a failure,” he added.
Human rights groups were quick to condemn the dismissal of drug charges against self-confessed drug lord Kerwin Espinosa and 20 others.
“This is indicative of the double standard of justice in this country. The poor are subjected to killings and curtailment of rights while we are forced to watch an outrageous spectacle of agencies being so obviously used to favor “kumpares” and self-confessed drug lords. This is the Department of Injustice in full, plain sight!” Palabay said.