Palace: Filipinos see 'better side' of drug war

MALACAÑANG on Friday brushed aside the "opinions" of the key persons on the investigation held by the United States in connection with the anti-drug war launched by President Rodrigo Duterte.

In a press conference, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said only the Filipino people could evaluate the efforts of the current administration to end the drug proliferation in the country.

Abella believed that majority of the Filipinos acknowledged the "better side" of the anti-drug operations, despite the criticisms hurled against the Philippine government.

"We've covered that ground before. And as far as we know, the President would say, the real judge of the actions of the administration would be not so much these opinions, but actually, the people of the Philippines, the citizens here who find that it’s safer in the streets," Abella said.

"The real judge of the situation would be the people and who have given him overwhelming support and overwhelming approval. And so, we trust that the people understand that they are really getting the better side of this deal," he added.

In a hearing conducted by US House committee on foreign affairs focused on Duterte’s drug war, iDefend spokesperson Ellecer Carlos lamented that the Duterte government has chosen to “assault and further brutalize” the “impoverished, beaten down, vulnerable” individuals exploited into illegal drugs.

Carlos said that “hard-line” approach to crack down on narcotics trade would never work, emphasizing that an overhaul of the national drug policy is much-needed to address the drug problem.

“This violent hard-lined approach never worked elsewhere and to effectively respond to his priority issues, drugs and crime, he must prioritize radical reforms in the criminal justice system, including an overhaul of the national drug policy and to take a compassionate, sustainable, evidence-based, human rights and health-centered approach to the drug issue,” he said.

Phelime Kine, deputy Asia director of Human Rights Watch, said that since Duterte assumed office, he has “unleashed a human rights calamity” following his implementation of anti-drug operations.

For Matthew Wells, senior crisis advisor of Amnesty International (AI), the majority of the victims of drug-related killings came from the poorest segments of the Philippine society.

Wells said the AI was able to document "unlawful" drug-related deaths in 20 different cities and towns all throughout the Philippines. (SunStar Philippines)
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