Palace: No impunity under Duterte; abusive cops to be punished

By: Inquirer.net |March 04,2019 - 12:13 PM

Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo (File photo from Philippine Daily Inquirer)

MANILA, Philippines – Impunity has no place under the Duterte administration, Malacañang said Monday, as it assured the public that policemen who abuse their authority in the government’s war on drugs would not escape accountability.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo issued the statement after recent Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey showed that 78 percent of Filipinos were worried that they or someone they know might fall victim to extrajudicial killing.

READ: SWS: Most Filipinos fear being victimized by EJK

Panelo said the Palace understood the concern of most Filipinos.

“We understand this concern of our people given the grossly inflated number of drug-related killings falsely peddled and grotesquely sensationalized by the incorrigible critics of the government’s campaign against prohibited drugs,” he said in a statement.

“For the umpteenth time, we do not tolerate EJKs nor knowingly allow them to happen. EJKs and vigilante killings are neither State-sanctioned nor State-sponsored,” he added.

He said President Rodrigo Duterte’s “position on any abuse committed by police officers and PDEA agents during their operations remains unchanged and immovable.”

Any transgression by them, he said, would “reap the severest punishment imposed by law.”

“We are investigating all complaints and allegations of extrajudicial deaths to ensure that perpetrators will not escape accountability,” he said.

“Impunity has no place in the Duterte administration nor can it find sanctuary elsewhere,” he added.

Despite the survey results, he said Malacanang was “pleased” to know that more than 7 out of 10 Filipinos, or 71 percent, believed that the Duterte administration was serious in solving the EJK problem.

READ: SWS: 71% of Filipinos believe gov’t is serious in solving EJKs

“The vilification campaign against the drug war and the demonization of the President by the cantankerous and vociferous political opposition as well as the most vocal detractors are ignored by the citizenry as they express their confidence in the Administration’s capability in finding a solution to the EJKs,” he said.

“The war on drugs remains relentless and more vigorous even as it is unforgiving to the destroyers of families and of this nation until the last day of the Duterte presidency,” he added.

As of January 2019, data from the Philippine National Police (PNP) and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) showed that the total number of drug suspects killed to 5,176 since Duterte launched his brutal war on drugs in July 2016.

Duterte has claimed that the number of people into illegal drugs nationwide is now about 7 to 8 million nationwide.

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