Palace blasts Amnesty International; vows PDEA to continue war on drugs
The assignment of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) to be the key implementer of the government’s war on drugs would continue despite being “vilified” by a human-rights group, a Palace official said Saturday.
Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella blasted Amnesty International (AI) for supposedly “demonizing” President Rodrigo Duterte’s order to take the Philippine National Police (PNP) out of the anti-illegal drug campaign amid stark issues of human-rights violations and extrajudicial killings.
“The (PDEA), which has been recently assigned by PRRD as the sole agency in charge of the government’s anti-illegal drug campaign, is now being demonized by Amnesty International,” Abella said in a statement.
“While Amnesty International is known to be disparaging of the frontline role of the PNP in the anti-illegal drug campaign, now it sees the relief of the agency as a mere public relations stunt. PDEA is the new object of AI’s, and similar groups’ ire and vilification,” he added.
The AI said on Friday that the President’s move was a mere publicity stunt meant to appease the growing clamor and outrage against the violent crackdown.
However controversial, Abella said the anti-illegal drug campaign would continue to “make the Philippines a crime, corruption and illegal drug-free nation.”
“We are hopeful that operations of this agency will not be jeopardized by the interference of outside agencies that fail to appreciate our desire, not for a drug-tolerant, but drug-free nation,” he noted.
PDEA chief Aaron Aquino assured the public on Friday there will be no human rights abuses and extrajudicial killings in the agency’s anti-narcotics operations, and its operatives will strictly observe rules and regulations during raids.
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