MALACAÑANG belied on Saturday, August 22, reports that President Rodrigo Duterte instructed the Philippine National Police (PNP) not to release or share information on the recent attacks against human rights activists.
"There is no truth to the alleged report that President Rodrigo Roa Duterte instructed the PNP not to release or share their information to the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) regarding the recent attacks against right defenders and activists," Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said.
CHR Commissioner Leah Tanadra-Armamento, in an interview Friday, August 21, said that Duterte ordered the police not to give them the data.
"We haven’t finished all of our investigations because there are gaps that we cannot determine...It has not progressed even to the prosecutor’s office because we don’t have enough evidence," she said.
But Roque said that Duterte, "as an officer of the court, being a lawyer...adheres to the rule of law and he wants the wheels of justice to grind, for the sake of the victims of abuse and violence and their families."
He assured that the government is "equally interested" in finding out the persons behind the killing of human rights activists.
"The administration is equally interested to unmask those behind these brazen killings, which are being blamed to state agents, and we will leave no stone unturned to put these people behind bars," Roque said.
On August 17, human rights group Karapatan reported that unidentified gunmen fatally shot Zara Alvarez, the group's paralegal worker.
The 39-year-old Alvarez was the 13th human rights defender killed in the Philippines in the past four years.
Alvarez is also the 13th member of the national human rights alliance, Karapatan, murdered under the Duterte government and the second case of political killing in just a week.
Her killing came after the assassination of peasant leader and peace consultant Randall Echanis last August 10. (Jove Moya/SunStar Philippines)