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NEW YORK-BASED HRW: DUTERTE CRIMINALLY LIABLE FOR 'HUMAN RIGHTS CALAMITY'[RELATED: Leila to Rody - Don’t insult the Filipinos and the int'l community on EJK]


New York-based Human Rights Watch has released its 124-page report on the drug-related killings perpetrated by the Philippine police under President Rodrigo Duterte. Photo by Kristine Angeli Sabillo/INQUIRER.net Human Rights Watch says President Duterte and his men are criminally liable for drug war-related extrajudicial killings, which may be considered crimes against humanity The 124-page report claims that police are involved in so-called vigilante killings and are planting evidence in crime scenes. It says poor communities are being terrorized by killings which appear to be “systematic.” The report recommends the immediate end of the war on drugs and the suspension of assistance to the Philippines by its foreign partners.  An international human rights group is accusing President Rodrigo Duterte of being criminally liable for the thousands of killings linked to the government’s war on drugs. The New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Thursday released a 124-page report, titled “License to Kill,” which gave an overview of Duterte’s war on drugs and detailed specific cases of extrajudicial killings possibly perpetrated by the police. READ MORE...RELATED, Leila to Rody - Don’t insult the Filipinos and the int'l community on EJK...

ALSO: Rody on drug killings - I take full responsibility; to NY-based HR: 'come here, talk to me face-to-face'

[ALSO VS TERROR: Sultans, royal clans to help gov't in anti-terror, extremism campaign]


MARCH 5 -“I never denied that I ordered the operations. I declared war on drugs. I take full responsibility, legal or otherwise, for that order,” Duterte said during a press conference in Cagayan de Oro City. File photo
Saying he never denied giving orders on anti-drug operations, President Duterte on Friday maintained that he would take full responsibility for the killings attributed to the government’s brutal drug war. “I never denied that I ordered the operations. I declared war on drugs. I take full responsibility, legal or otherwise, for that order,” Duterte said during a press conference in Cagayan de Oro City. He issued the statement after the New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) accused him of being criminally liable for the extrajudicial killings that have reached over 7,000 since the administration launched the war on drugs in June last year. “Human rights, pumunta ka nga dito, pinapasagot mo ako (Come here, Human Rights Watch, if you want me to respond),” Duterte said. READ MORE...ALSO,
VS TERROR: Sultans, royal clans to help gov't in anti-terror, extremism campaign...

ALSO: Palace blasts Human Rights Watch - Thoughtless and irresponsible: Do your homework more diligently


MARCH 2 -Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella holds a press briefing in Malacañan. Presidential Photo/Toto Lozano
Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella criticized a report recently released by an international human rights group regarding the administration's war on drugs. New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) called on donor countries to end all assistance to the Philippine National Police (PNP) until the killings stop. "On a call by HRW for foreign governments to suspend assistance to the Philippines based on drug-related killings, we would advise special interest groups to do their homework more diligently before attempting to engage in propaganda," Abella said in a statement. The HRW said President Rodrigo Duterte could be held liable for crimes against humanity for encouraging the general population to commit vigilante violence against alleged drug offenders. READ MORE...

ALSO: PDEA chief’s assurance - No ‘shortcuts’ in war on drugs; “These deaths are results of violent actions of drug pushers toward law enforcers during lawful arrests.”  -PDEA report
[RELATED: PNP dares Human Rights Watch to show evidence of cop abuses]


MARCH 4 -PDEA chief Isidro Lapeña (center) at Clean Forum in Manila Hotel.
The head of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) on Friday denied that the authorities were involved in extrajudicial killings, saying most of those who died in the government’s antidrug campaign were violent suspects who resisted arrest. “Contrary to public notion that the campaign is promoting extrajudicial killings, PDEA is not in the business to take shortcuts to bring drug suspects to justice,” PDEA Director General Isidro Lapeña said in a statement. “Human life is precious and, as law enforcers, we are duty bound to protect it. Taking human life is not the intent of antidrug operations.”  “These deaths are results of violent actions of drug pushers toward law enforcers during lawful arrests,” he added. READ MORE...RELATED, PNP dares Human Rights Watch to show evidence of cop abuses...

ALSO: From prayer to protection - Church shields, sheltering drug war targets
[RELATED: Palace assures arrest, punishment of rogue cops]

[RELATED(2): WATCH - Duterte to Catholic Priest - Where's the money of the faithful?]


MARCH 5 -GATHERING THE THREATENED FLOCK A prayer service calling for a stop to extrajudicial killings linked to the drug war and campaigning against the Duterte administration’s move to lower the minimum age of criminal responsibility gathers children at the Iglesia Filipina Independiente Cathedral on Taft Avenue, Manila, on Saturday.—Marianne Bermudez
Network of 6 churches providing refuge for addicts deemed unsafe in own communities Like in any war, secrecy is a primary weapon. And so Norma Dollaga can only disclose this much: For now, there are six small parishes involved in Metro Manila, and as of last week they have been providing shelter to 20 people from the slums, including a teenage boy who survived a massacre. Their initiative quietly began in October last year, when the death toll of President Duterte’s bloody crackdown on illegal drugs stood at around 3,700. READ MORE...RELATED, Palace assures arrest, punishment of rogue cops... RELATED(2) WATCH: Duterte to Catholic Priest - Where's the money of the faithful?...

ALSO: Duterte’s men visit US warship
[RELATED: China to further modernize military to safeguard security]


MARCH 5 -The nuclear powered aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson, shown in this file photo plowing through the Indian Ocean, has just been redeployed for patrol duties in the South China Sea.
DEFENSE Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Saturday visited a US aircraft carrier patrolling the South China Sea, hailing the “strong relationship” with Washington despite President Rodrigo Duterte’s pivot away from Manila’s traditional ally. The US Navy said the USS Carl Vinson had been engaging in “routine operations in the South China Sea” since last month to assert freedom of navigation in the strategic waterway claimed by Beijing, Manila and a host of other Southeast Asian nations. Lorenzana said he and other top officials in Duterte’s administration had a “very interesting and informative” visit to the aircraft carrier. “We have a strong relationship with the US on account of our mutual defense treaty,” he added, referring to the cornerstone 1951 agreement.READ MORE...RELATED, China to further modernize military to safeguard security...


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Duterte criminally liable for ‘human rights calamity’—New York HRW report


New York-based Human Rights Watch has released its 124-page report on the drug-related killings perpetrated by the Philippine police under President Rodrigo Duterte. Photo by Kristine Angeli Sabillo/INQUIRER.net

MANILA, MARCH 6, 2017 (INQUIRER) By: Kristine Angeli Sabillo - @KSabilloINQINQUIRER.net / 08:00 AM March 02, 2017 - Human Rights Watch says President Duterte and his men are criminally liable for drug war-related extrajudicial killings, which may be considered crimes against humanity.

The 124-page report claims that police are involved in so-called vigilante killings and are planting evidence in crime scenes.

It says poor communities are being terrorized by killings which appear to be “systematic.”

The report recommends the immediate end of the war on drugs and the suspension of assistance to the Philippines by its foreign partners.


An international human rights group is accusing President Rodrigo Duterte of being criminally liable for the thousands of killings linked to the government’s war on drugs.

The New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Thursday released a 124-page report, titled “License to Kill,” which gave an overview of Duterte’s war on drugs and detailed specific cases of extrajudicial killings possibly perpetrated by the police.

READ MORE...

“[Duterte’s] first six months has been a human rights calamity for the Philippines,” the group said in the report, which also documented Duterte’s statements encouraging the killing of drug suspects.

Since Duterte assumed office in 2016, more than 7,000 people have been killed — some of them killed during police operations and many shot by unidentified gunmen. Almost all of the victims come from poor communities.

Even before being elected, Duterte vowed to clamp down on the illegal drug trade by killing drug pushers and users.

“President Duterte has ordered and instigated and incited these killings,” Peter Bouckaert, the report’s author, told INQUIRER.net. “And he (Duterte) and the people around him are personally, criminally liable for these crimes, which may amount to crimes against humanity.”

Bouckaert, Human Rights Watch’s Emergencies Director, stayed in the Philippines for several weeks in November last year and January this year to get first-hand information on cases of extrajudicial killings.

Police as vigilantes

Through interviews with witnesses and family members and analysis of spot and other police reports, Bouckaert came to the conclusion that the police are involved in the so-called vigilante killings.

“While the Philippine National Police (PNP) have publicly sought to distinguish between suspects killed while resisting police arrest and killings by ‘unknown gunmen’ or ‘vigilantes,’ Human Rights Watch found no such distinction in the cases investigated,” the report said.

However, Bouckaert said, “Our research also shows that the so called unidentified gunmen are involved in these killings were also working in cooperation with the police and are often policemen themselves.”

“It appears the police themselves are carrying out a lot of the killings,” he said, adding that it is slightly different from the extrajudicial killings committed in Davao City when Duterte was still mayor where police reportedly gave orders to a death-squad.

The HRW officer said the police involved in the killings “operate out of uniform” and wear civilian clothes that resemble those of the unidentified gunmen.

“I think we should subject the police to a reality test. It’s virtually impossible for a large group of armed masked gunmen to drive around in these areas that are heavily patrolled by the police and kill individuals day after day after day,” he said, referring to the large group of gunmen often credited for the deaths of suspected drug users.

Bouckaert pointed out that there were cases when people were brought to the police station of to a barangay (village) office “then later killed by so-called unidentified gunmen and classified as found bodies.”

“The chain of custody of the person clearly establishes the police role in these killings,” he said.

Planting of evidence

 
https://youtu.be/bs5eRSA3GoQ?t=117

He said their report also details incidents when police shot unarmed suspects “who are already under their control.”

“They will talk about a shootout on the street when somebody was killed inside their home.”

“It’s clear that the police is planting evidence at the scene of these crimes,” he said, narrating a certain case they investigated where witnesses told them that a gun appeared beside the corpse long after the supposed shootout happened.

Bouckaert said the last case he looked into involved an unidentified man who was gunned down in Malate last January 14. A police report says the man was armed and onboard a motorcycle when he engaged the police in a firefight.

However, witnesses said they were able to see the body as the scene was being secured by the police. One witness was able to photograph the body, the image showing that the suspect did not have a gun.

When they returned to the scene later, a gun was already lying beside the corpse. Another witness confirmed that they did not see a gun when they first went to the crime scene.

War against the poor

Bouckaert said such incidents instill fear in poor communities.

“Poor neighbordhoods really are terrorized,” he said. “People are sleeping out on the pavement because they are even too afraid to stay in their homes.”

He said “anybody can be targeted, on the slightest suspicion, on the denunciation of the neighbor or on just inaccurate information.”

“And because there is no judiciary is involved, no legal process involved, the police are (both) the judge and the executioner in these cases,” Bouckaert said.

Phelim Kine, HRW Deputy Director for Asia, said all 7,000 people killed should be considered innocent “because they never saw the inside of the courtroom, they never had a lawyer.”

“There was never any type of examination (or) justice. They were just shot down by someone,” he said.

The group claimed that those who have money are left unharmed.

“In many of the cases we investigated, those who were deeply involved in drugs actually were able to bribe their way out of police custody and were unaffected,” Bouckaert said, recalling a story of a victim’s relative.

“We had one case where one young man who was not a drug user (but) was detained together with a drug dealing couple from their house. And they (the couple) bribed their way out of custody” while the young man was killed because his family did not have money to pay for a bribe,” he said.

Next steps

Bouckaert explained the HRW report is “really for the Filipino people to understand that this is a war on the poor and not a war on drug pushers.”

“And it’s time for the Filipino people, and religious leaders and civil society leaders to clearly stand against the killings of their fellow Filipinos,” he said.

“These Killings have to stop. They are just unacceptable and they have to stop right now,” he said.

Among the recommendations listed in the report is for President Duterte to take steps to end such killings and to stop releasing public statements that “instigate or incite sate security forces and the general public to commit unlawful killings.”

It also called for hearings and investigations on the involvement of the PNP in unlawful killings.

Further, it encouraged foreign donors and partners of the Philippines to suspend financial assistance and other programs “until the Philippine government ends its abusive ‘war on drugs’ and initiates meaningful investigations into alleged unlawful killings.”

The HRW also had specific recommendations for the United States. Among them is a moratorium on weapons sales to the Philippines, the deferment of grants from the Millennium Challenge Corporation, and the reduction of direct assistance and cooperation between the US military and the Armed Forces of the Philippines.”

-----------------------------------------------

RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

Leila to Rody: Don’t insult Pinoys on EJK By Paolo Romero (The Philippine Star) | Updated March 4, 2017 - 12:00am


Sen. Leila de Lima said the truth has become the first major casualty in the campaign against illegal drugs, which has already claimed over 7,000 lives. Philstar.com/Jonathan Asuncion, file

MANILA, Philippines - Sen. Leila de Lima yesterday asked President Duterte and the Philippine National Police (PNP) not to insult the intelligence of Filipinos and the international community on the issue of extrajudicial killings in the war against drugs.

“I say to you: stop insulting our intelligence, stop fooling our people and the rest of the world,” she said in a hand-written statement issued from her detention cell at the PNP Custodial Center in Camp Crame.

De Lima said the truth has become the first major casualty in the campaign against illegal drugs, which has already claimed over 7,000 lives.

“In due time, your President and those who blindly enforce his illegal orders to kill, fabricate evidence and concoct lies will be held accountable,” she added.

READ MORE...

Opposition Senators Antonio Trillanes IV, Francis Pangilinan and Risa Hontiveros also criticized Duterte for saying “criminals have no humanity.”

Trillanes said the statement indicated that the President’s twisted definition proves that the extrajudicial killings are state sponsored as Pangilinan stressed that the Constitution provides every accused the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty by the courts.

“President Duterte was elected as chief executive to run a country according to the basic tenets of human rights, he must do that toward all citizens without exception. He must understand that humanity and the right to human dignity is inviolable. This government must respect and safeguard the dignity of the human person; the right of each and everyone to human dignity is the basis of many inalienable rights and the foundation of freedom, justice and peace,” Hontiveros said.

The group Human Rights Watch accused Duterte Thursday of instigating and inciting the killings of mostly urban poor members in his war against drugs. It said this condition could be considered a crime against humanity.

“His first six months in office has been a human rights calamity for the Philippines,” the group said in the background portion of its 117-page report titled “License to Kill: Philippine Police Killings in Duterte’s War on Drugs.”

Hontiveros said the war against drugs is inhumane, abusive and corrupt and that it kills many innocent lives and leaves hundreds of orphans in its wake. – With Marvin Sy, Evelyn Macairan


PHILSTAR

Rody on drug killings: I take full responsibility By Edith Regalado (The Philippine Star) | Updated March 5, 2017 - 12:00am 12 149 googleplus1 0


“I never denied that I ordered the operations. I declared war on drugs. I take full responsibility, legal or otherwise, for that order,” Duterte said during a press conference in Cagayan de Oro City. File photo

MANILA, Philippines - Saying he never denied giving orders on anti-drug operations, President Duterte on Friday maintained that he would take full responsibility for the killings attributed to the government’s brutal drug war.

“I never denied that I ordered the operations. I declared war on drugs. I take full responsibility, legal or otherwise, for that order,” Duterte said during a press conference in Cagayan de Oro City.

He issued the statement after the New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) accused him of being criminally liable for the extrajudicial killings that have reached over 7,000 since the administration launched the war on drugs in June last year.

“Human rights, pumunta ka nga dito, pinapasagot mo ako (Come here, Human Rights Watch, if you want me to respond),” Duterte said.

READ MORE...

“Bakit nila sinasabing it’s illegitimate? Bakit, masama bang sabihin papatay ako ng tao para sa bayan ko (Why are they saying it’s illegitimate? Why, is it wrong to say that I will kill for my country)? Tell me, is there a crime? It’s a warning actually to stop (the drug traffickers),” he added.

The President reiterated that he ordered the police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines to take part in the campaign against illegal drugs.

“Lahat ’yung namatay sa engkwentro, sagot ko ’yun, ako ang magpakulong doon. Klaro ’yan. Huwag mo akong bintangan na kung sino-sinong pinatay diyan na – akin ’yun (All those who died in encounters, I am answerable for them. I may be jailed for them. That’s clear. Do not accuse me of just killing people). You know, I answer for my deeds or misdeeds if you may,” he said.

Duterte vowed to run after the drug syndicates that continue to destroy the country.

He also reiterated his support for the police and military officers who were charged for drug-related killings.

The HRW on Thursday released a report, titled “License to Kill,” which detailed specific cases of extrajudicial killings allegedly perpetrated by police.

The group accused Duterte of being accountable for the killings.

He called on the human rights group and the church to go to the police and ask for a list of drug pushers and users and ask them to stop using drugs.

Duterte said around 3,000 municipal mayors, 6,000 policemen and 40 percent of barangay captains in the country are involved in the illegal drug trade.

NEW TOKHANG STRATEGIES

New Tokhang strategies The Philippine National Police will employ new strategies when it revives the campaign against illegal drugs, PNP chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa said yesterday.

Last month, President Duterte announced the revival of the government’s war on drugs following reports that drug rings have resumed operations after the PNP suspended Oplan Tokhang.

Dela Rosa said local police stations would be authorized to conduct anti-drug operations in coordination with barangay officials.

“Led by the police chief, members of the local police station will go to the barangays,” he said in a radio interview.

According to Dela Rosa, the police commander and barangay chairman will visit the houses of suspected drug personalities to convince them to undergo rehabilitation.

Police officers should be in complete uniforms when implementing Tokhang.

Dela Rosa said the police chief would be held accountable if drug suspects were killed by police under questionable circumstances.

He said police operating units from the PNP headquarters would no longer take part in the anti-drug campaign.

NCRPO to revisit drug surrenderees National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) chief Director Oscar Albayalde said they would revisit identified barangays with drug surrenderees for assessment.

At least 260,000 drug suspects have surrendered to police since the government started the campaign against drugs, Albayalde said.

Albayalde said the drug surrenderees would be evaluated before they undergo rehabilitation.

With the resumption of the anti-drug campaign, Albayalde said the NCRPO would focus on sending drug dependents to rehabilitation centers.

UN body condemns EJK

An international body tasked to implement United Nations drug conventions has cautioned governments against using extrajudicial means to address the illegal drugs problem.

In a report released on Thursday, the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) expressed concern over the drug-related killings allegedly committed by law enforcement personnel.

“In some instances, those acts have been committed with the expressed or tacit approval, or even encouragement, of political forces and, in many cases, have gone unpunished,” the report read.

While the board did not cite specific cases, the report appeared to be referring to the bloody drug war of the Duterte administration.

More than 7,000 people have been killed in the anti-drug campaign, including 2,000 during police operations.

Police claimed that the drug suspects were killed because they fought back during legitimate operations.

Various groups, including the Commission on Human Rights, have questioned the “nanlaban” explanation of the police and pushed for a thorough investigation into drug-related deaths.

In its report, the INCB said that extrajudicial targeting of drug suspects was in violation of three international drug control conventions, Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

The INCB called on the governments to put an end to extrajudicial killings and conduct investigation of those involved in drug-related deaths.

DEP ED ANTI-ILLEGAL DRUG PROGRAM

DepEd seeks drug-free schools Meanwhile, the Department of Education has created a committee that will formulate a drug testing program for DepEd officials, employees and teachers.

Education Secretary Leonor Briones tapped undersecretary for legal and legislative affairs Alberto Muyot and assistant secretary Nepomuceno Malaluan to co-chair the committee, which is tasked to ensure a drug-free workplace in all DepEd offices and public schools nationwide.

Briones directed members of the committee to formulate a drug testing program in accordance with the provisions of Republic Act 9165, the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act.

The panel will oversee the implementation of an anti-drug abuse policy in the department, as well as initiate training and awareness programs for DepEd officials and employees.

The committee was also tasked to adopt value formation, family enhancement and other related programs.

“The DepEd is committed to strengthen its programs against illegal drugs by complementing its existing National Drug Education Program with a comprehensive policy against drug abuse in the workplace,” Briones said.

Last week, the department announced its plan to conduct random drug testing for high school students.

DepEd officials will undergo orientation in April in eight different clusters to provide awareness on the legal and regulatory aspects of the drug testing. – With Emmanuel Tupas, Robertzon Ramirez, Janvic Mateo

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ALSO FROM THE TRIBUNE

Sultans, royal clans to help gov't in anti-terror, extremism campaign Written by PNA Monday, 06 March 2017 00:00


TERROR-ALERT.COM

President Duterte's ongoing campaign against violent extremism and terrorism got a much needed boost as descendants of sultans and royal clans in Mindanao have expressed their support to the government's campaign against the two security menaces.

This was the product of the first-ever Mindanao Sultanate Summit on Peace and Security, hosted by the Department of National Defense and Department of Interior and Local Government last March 2 to 4.

Around 500 participants attended the summit, including the sultanate of Maguindanao and sultans, datus and bais from the Zamboanga Peninsula, Davao Region, Southern Mindanao, Iranun, Biwang, Bagoinged, Lanao, Buayan and Kabuntalan, DND Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said in a statement Sunday.

The declaration was signed in the presence of Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, National Security Adviser (NSA) Hermogenes Esperon, and government security forces led by Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief-of-staff Gen. Eduardo Año.

Affirming their support, assistance and cooperation to deny the entry as well as prevent the growth of violent extremism and terrorism, the group stated “the struggle against violent extremism and terrorism should not solely be borne by the government but should involve the whole of nation, including the Sultanate and traditional institutions and leadership in Mindanaw.”

The three-day summit featured presentations from key government agencies such as DND-AFP, DILG, NSA, National Anti-Poverty Commission, and the Philippine National Police.

They tackled how the government plans to bring its services to the people of Mindanao. The participants, in turn, were able to discuss issues, concerns, and suggestions that could help the government in its campaign against violence extremism and terrorism.

Lorenzana said he will submit a report to the President on the results of the three-day summit.

He stressed the need to engage the Sultanate and the sultans, datus and bais in the implementation of efforts to prevent the entry and stop the growth of violent extremism and terrorism in the region.

Meanwhile, Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Ronald "Bato" de la Rosa lauded Mindanao sultans and datus for not being involved in drugs and urged them to replace political leaders who are into illegal drugs.

"I have yet to hear or see any from you involved in drugs, wala akong narinig o alam, seguro... Sa mga political leaders marami na (I did not hear or know, maybe…among the political leaders there are many)," de la Rosa told Mindanao sultans and IP leaders at the conclusion of the three-day First Mindanaw Sultanate Summit on Peace and Security on Saturday in Davao City.

He said Muslim traditional leaders have greater role to play in the government's fight against illegal drugs and terrorism, citing information that some Muslim elders, apparently those fundamentalists, taught young Muslims to be extremists.

He advised them to focus their peace campaigns to Muslim youths whom he said are vulnerable to extremism.


PHILSTAR

Palace blasts Human Rights Watch - Thoughtless and irresponsible: Do your homework more diligently By Patricia Lourdes Viray (philstar.com) | Updated March 2, 2017 - 2:43pm 1 20 googleplus0 0


Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella holds a press briefing in Malacañan. Presidential Photo/Toto Lozano

MANILA, Philippines — Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella criticized a report recently released by an international human rights group regarding the administration's war on drugs.

New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) called on donor countries to end all assistance to the Philippine National Police (PNP) until the killings stop.

"On a call by HRW for foreign governments to suspend assistance to the Philippines based on drug-related killings, we would advise special interest groups to do their homework more diligently before attempting to engage in propaganda," Abella said in a statement.

The HRW said President Rodrigo Duterte could be held liable for crimes against humanity for encouraging the general population to commit vigilante violence against alleged drug offenders.

READ MORE...

RELATED: Citizens have 'moral obligation' to arrest criminals, says Duterte

Abella reminded the human rights group that the president is constitutionally immune from suit but has encouraged the Filipino people to offer constructive criticism.

READ: HRW: Duterte could be charged with crimes vs humanity

Abella: Human rights calamity? Thoughtless observation

The Cabinet member said that the observation that the country is in the midst of a "human rights calamity" is "thoughtless and irresponsible."

"Is it a human rights calamity when the sheer scope and magnitude of an emerging narco-state have been exposed?" Abella said.

On the report against the PNP, Abella said that the planting of evidence on crime scenes are mere allegations and nothing more.

RELATED: CHR finds more anecdotal evidence suggesting cops moonlight as vigilantes

The group's claims against the police should be substantiated by solid evidence, eyewitness account and sworn affidavit, the Cabinet member said.

"In short, all these accusations of circumventing police procedures should be proven in a competent court and if found meritorious should result in appropriate sanctions against the perpetrators. Failing these, such claims are mere hearsay," Abella said.

Abella also stressed that a "war on criminality" is not a "war on humanity" but a precise way to protect humanity from modern-day evil.

"To say otherwise is to undermine society's legitimate desire to be free from fear and to pander to the interests of the criminals," Abella said.

RELATED: Report: Patterns in drug killings suggest planning, police involvement

WATCH VIDEO -DUTERTE ON 'CRIMINALS HAVE NO HUMANITY'

Criminals have no humanity, President Duterte said Thursday in response to the report of Human Rights Watch, which said drug-related extrajudicial killings may be considered crimes against humanity.

 
https://youtu.be/lUdtAuWUSUs?t=129
Duterte: Criminals have no humanity INQUIRER.net INQUIRER.net Published on Mar 2, 2017 Criminals have no humanity, President Duterte said Thursday in response to the report of Human Rights Watch, which said drug-related extrajudicial killings may be considered crimes against humanity. Category News & Politics License Standard YouTube License


INQUIRER

PDEA chief’s assurance: No ‘shortcuts’ in war on drugs By: Julie M. Aurelio, Philip C. Tubeza - @inquirerdotnetPhilippine Daily Inquirer / 12:26 AM March 04, 2017


PDEA chief Isidro Lapeña (center) at Clean Forum in Manila Hotel.

The head of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) on Friday denied that the authorities were involved in extrajudicial killings, saying most of those who died in the government’s antidrug campaign were violent suspects who resisted arrest.

“Contrary to public notion that the campaign is promoting extrajudicial killings, PDEA is not in the business to take shortcuts to bring drug suspects to justice,”

PDEA Director General Isidro Lapeña said in a statement. “Human life is precious and, as law enforcers, we are duty bound to protect it. Taking human life is not the intent of antidrug operations.”

“These deaths are results of violent actions of drug pushers toward law enforcers during lawful arrests,” he added.

READ MORE...

The New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Thursday released a damning report saying President Rodrigo Duterte and his men were criminally liable for drug war-related extrajudicial killings, which may be considered crimes against humanity.

The report also said the police were involved in the so-called vigilante killings and had planted evidence in crime scenes. It said poor communities were being “terrorized” by the drug killings which appeared to be “systematic.”

Caught red-handed

But Lapeña said many poor Filipinos were easily lured into illegal drug activities.

“They are the ones caught red-handed selling or possessing illegal drugs and have resisted arrest. We have no other recourse but to use necessary force proportionate to the force they used against us,” Lapeña said.

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) praised HRW for its report, saying the international community clearly saw “the impunity and the rampant disregard for basic human rights” even as many Filipinos remained silent.

Fr. Jerome Secillano, executive secretary of the CBCP’s Permanent Committee on Public Affairs, pointed out that the carnage targeting small-time drug users and peddlers “only gave the public the idea that the war on drugs is a war against the poor.”

“We do not condone illegal drugs, their proliferation must be stopped. The government should go after dismantling drug groups and halting their operations,” Secillano said.

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RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

PNP dares Human Rights Watch to show evidence of cop abuses By Audrey Morallo (philstar.com) | Updated March 2, 2017 - 3:27pm 1 2 googleplus0 0


A small sachet of shabu, a form of methamphetamine, is found wrapped in a 500 peso bill found in Jayson Reuyan's pocket after he was killed. Five masked armed men broke into a house in Bulacan in an alleged drug buy-bust operation by the police, Jan. 13, 2017. Human Rights Watch/Carlo Gabuco

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine National Police (PNP) has challenged the Human Rights Watch to present evidence to prove its claim that police officers planted evidence against individuals suspected of involvement in illegal drugs.

Senior Superintendent Dionardo Carlos, the PNP spokesman, said that they hoped that the New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) would be able to share with the police the evidence they used in writing its report.

He said that the allegations that the HRW made were serious and the group needed to prove these through evidence, eyewitness accounts and affidavits.

“We hope we can (have) the evidence they have so we can pursue yung sinasabi nilang nagkamali. Kailangan ho namin talaga e yung mapanghahawakang ebidensya,” Carlos said in a press briefing at Camp Crame, the headquarters of the PNP.

READ MORE...

In its 117-page report titled “License to Kill: Philippine Police Killings in Duterte’s ‘War on Drugs,’” the HRW said that the police repeatedly engaged in extrajudicial killings of drug suspects and later claimed self-defense.

The report also criticized police officers for planting evidence to show that the suspects fought back.

According to the rights group, there were 24 similar incidents that resulted in 32 deaths which were reported by the media.

"The cases investigated in this report suggest that police involvement in the killings of drug suspects extends far beyond the officially acknowledged cases of police killings in 'buy-bust' operations," the group said.

READ: CHR finds more anecdotal evidence suggesting cops moonlight as vigilantes

The report also noted that those killed were not big-time drug peddlers but rather people at the bottom of the drug chain.

The HRW also said that President Rodrigo Duterte and PNP chief Ronald Dela Rosa could be held liable for crimes against humanity.

It said that Dela Rosa, Solicitor General Jose Calida and Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II also urged killings in the drug war, effectively blocking meaningful efforts to investigate police officers involved in the killings of drug dealers and users.

RELATED: Citizens have 'moral obligation' to arrest criminals, says Duterte

In particular, Dela Rosa encouraged vigilante killings against drug dealers, according to HRW. Dela Rosa is a close associate of Duterte and was the chief of police of Davao City when Duterte launched his similar drug war there when he was still its mayor.

“On August 27, 2016, he told a gathering of thousands of surrendering drug users: ‘Let us help each other. But don’t forget those drug lords. They know where they will go. You want me to kill them? I’ll kill them. You can kill them [also] because you are the victims. Pour gasoline on their houses and burn them. Show your anger,’” the report said referring to Dela Rosa.

Dela Rosa also branded Senate efforts to investigate the killings as “legal harassment” and claimed that such probes would “dampen the morale” of the police.

Carlos, the PNP spokesman, said that they are open to any investigation especially of those suspected of committing violations.

“If they say so, then they provide the evidence, the affidavits and the accounts. Sa amin po wala ho kaming itatago, pag mali aayusin, pag nagkaroon sila ng violation of law kakasuhan,” he told reporters.

Carlos also clarified that the PNP did not want its campaign to be bloody. He said that drug operations became bloody because their targets put up a fight and police officers needed to protect themselves.

“Again yun pong sitwasyon is not created by the PNP. The chief PNP kung maaari lang bloodless, maayos. Unfortunately yun pong nagiging target are the ones creating that scenario. We will only protect ourselves when the lives of our police officers are in danger,” he said.


INQUIRER

From prayer to protection: Church shields drug war targets; small parishes sheltering kids from slums By: Julie M. Aurelio - @inquirerdotnetPhilippine Daily Inquirer / 03:00 AM March 05, 2017


GATHERING THE THREATENED FLOCK A prayer service calling for a stop to extrajudicial killings linked to the drug war and campaigning against the Duterte administration’s move to lower the minimum age of criminal responsibility gathers children at the Iglesia Filipina Independiente Cathedral on Taft Avenue, Manila, on Saturday.—Marianne Bermudez

Network of 6 churches providing refuge for addicts deemed unsafe in own communities

Like in any war, secrecy is a primary weapon.

And so Norma Dollaga can only disclose this much: For now, there are six small parishes involved in Metro Manila, and as of last week they have been providing shelter to 20 people from the slums, including a teenage boy who survived a massacre.

Their initiative quietly began in October last year, when the death toll of President Duterte’s bloody crackdown on illegal drugs stood at around 3,700.

READ MORE...

Today, with the chilling body count reaching over 7,000, the unusual “ministry” launched by a network of churches is hoping for the best but bracing for the worst, with Mr. Duterte recently announcing the resumption of police operations against drug suspects after a monthlong suspension.

Dollaga is one of the cofounders of Rise Up for Life and for Rights, an ecumenical alliance campaigning against extrajudicial killings (EJKs) being linked to the narcotics war since they have targeted mostly drug users or smalltime pushers.

“One of our partner priests declared that he had these people (involved in drugs) wanting to change their lives and he was offering sanctuary to them,” said Dollaga, a Methodist deaconess, recalling how the Rise Up mission began.

No sympathy

“It’s sad. If a farmer-leader is killed, the whole community is paralyzed with fear and there’s sympathy. But if it’s a suspected drug addict who’s killed, there’s no sympathy until the community realizes that he was in fact executed,” Dollaga said. “We realize the truth that is being exposed by the stories of the poor. The cry of the poor in these situations compels us to cry for social justice.”

She is also the current secretary of the Association of Women in Theology as its secretary, and also a member of the Board of Ecumenical Voice for Peace and Human Rights in the Philippines.

“Whether we are afraid for our lives or not in providing sanctuary, the same thing will happen to us. So we might as well do the better thing. It’s imperative in your faith and your humanity,” she told the Inquirer in an interview last week.

The alliance, like critics of President Duterte’s brutal approach, insists that rehabilitation, counseling and community involvement is the better, lasting path to solving the drug menace.

The Rise Up organization also includes the Promotion for Church People’s Response, the National Council of Churches in the Philippines, the Permanent Commission on Social Mission Apostolate of the Redemptorist Missionaries, Contak Philippines, Kasimbayan, and other community-based groups.

‘Best refuge’

Also a partner is the Redemptorist Church in Baclaran, Parañaque City, where the group mounted a photo exhibit in December showing EJK victims as they lay bleeding on the streets. The exhibit was timed with the dawn Masses leading to Christmas.

While the community can serve as the “best refuge” for drug users, many have since sought the help of Rise Up as they felt threatened in their own neighborhoods, Dollaga said.

“Usually, we identify those who we think are in danger, then we talk to them and the priest of their parish. We really assess if the person’s life is really in danger,” she added.

Most of those being given sanctuary are drug dependents who learned that they had been included in the so-called watch lists drawn up by local governments under the Oplan Tokhang campaign of the Philippine National Police.

They include a minor who survived a “vigilante-style” shooting at a street party in December which killed seven people, three of them also teenagers.

“We do ask them to be honest and say if they used illegal drugs or did anything bad. You’ll pity them,” Dollaga said. “We tell them: ‘This should not end with the funeral of your loved one. We should rise up together in fighting drug addiction and addressing its causes.’”

Documenting drug slays

Rise Up is also documenting cases of drug-related killings and human rights violations. So far, it has documented more than 30 cases mostly in Quezon City and Caloocan.

Aside from counseling, it offers free acupuncture sessions to drug addicts who want to start a detoxification regimen, as well as livelihood programs. One parish, for example, has taught them how to make religious figurines.

These efforts are so far centered on a community in northern Metro Manila, where some of the drug users sheltered by Rise Up are staying.

“We’re planning a medical mission as part of our wellness ministry. That will take up more funds so we’re still planning for that,” Dollaga said.

A Catholic priest has also offered to help facilitate counseling sessions for those suffering from trauma, while other human rights groups are providing training in documentation.

Dollaga admitted that the protection would not be permanent, because “more importantly, we want to empower the communities to be sanctuaries themselves.”

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RELATED FROM THE MANILA BULLETIN

Palace assures arrest, punishment of rogue cops 112 SHARES Share it! Published March 5, 2017, 8:37 AM By Argyll Cyrus B. Geducos

Palace assured that police who are taking advantage of the country’s war against illegal drugs will be arrested, investigated, and prosecuted on Saturday.

(FILE) Members of PNP (Linus Guardian Escandor II | Manila Bulletin Members of PNP (Credits: Linus Guardian Escandor II | Manila Bulletin file photo)

Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella reiterated the Palace’s earlier stand that the government does not condone such acts and assured appropriate actions will be taken.

“The PH Government is firmly committed to upholding human rights. Vigilante or extrajudicial killings are unlawful and are therefore not sanctioned. The government condemns such practice,” Abella said in a text message.

“We will arrest, investigate, prosecute and punish the scalawags in uniform, while also pursuing reform in these institutions so that they can more effectively conduct this noble crusade,” he added.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) was suspended by President Rodrigo Duterte from enforcing drug laws to undergo cleansing after some officers were tagged in the killing of South Korean businessman Jee Ick Joo.

According to Abella, Duterte has already ordered the appropriate law enforcement institutions to take decisive legal steps to ensure accountability.

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RELATED FROM YOU TUBE

Duterte to Catholic Priest: Where's the money of the faithful PhNews Review  PhNews Review Published on Mar 2, 2017



President Rodrigo Duterte is not yet done lambasting priests and human rights advocates who continue to criticize his anti-drug policies that resulted in the deaths of several drug suspects.

Speaking before business leaders in Cebu, the country’s top executive said no one can stop his war on drugs.

“I’m telling you now. The campaign against drugs will continue until the last day of my presidency. I will only stop if all those involved in illegal drugs are dead,” he said in a speech he delivered during the induction of new officers of the Cebu Chamberof Commerce and Industry at the Waterfront Airport Hotel and Casino Mactan on Thursday evening.

He voiced out disgust over those who say only lowly drug suspects were affected by his campaign against drugs.

“I can’t destroy the drug industry by just killing drug lords. I can’t stop the drug industry if there are still drug pushers on the streets because it’s an organization and an apparatus,” he said.

President Duterte challenged priests to do something to help address the drug problem and not just criticize him.

READ MORE...

“You priests just keep on talking. You have done nothing. From baptism to death and on Sundays, you collect money. Where’s the money of the faithful?” he said.
President Duterte may have not known the Archdiocese of Cebu’s programs to save drug surenderers.

Last week, the local church formally launched the Cebu Archdiocesan Program for Drug Dependents which allows over 200 parishes in Cebu to introduce community-based programs for drug addicts in their respective areas.

Since last July, the archdiocese has two programs to reach out to drug surenderers.

So far, about a hundred drug surenderers under the Surrender to God and Lahat Bangon programs were cleared of illegal drug use.
Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma hopes to replicate the programs to save more drug dependents.

In an earlier interview, the 66-year-old prelate said they are not against President Duterte and the latter’s war on drugs but on how it is done.
Since July 1, about 7,000 drug suspects were killed either in legitimate operations or by unknown assailants.

President Duterte said he would not mind personal attacks against him but not against Filipinos who fall victim to drug addicts.

“You can attack or humiliate me. But if you put my country in danger, yayariin ko talaga kayo. Sino ba ang gustong pumatay ng tao? Pero kon sisirain ninyo ang bayan ko, I’m happy yo kill you,” he said.

When he took his oath of office, President Duterte said he made a promise before God that he would protect his country from those who want to destroy it.

“I dont need to impose any martial law. All I need to do is to so something to protect my people. If you destroy my people, sasagasaam ko kayo ng tangke de gerra, pabalik-balik pa,” he said.

“I will not allow my country to make slaves out of chemicals to make drug lords rich,” he added.

 
https://youtu.be/fixaEETOOYs?t=76
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MANILA STANDARD

Duterte’s men visit US warship posted March 06, 2017 at 12:01 am by AFP


The nuclear powered aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson, shown in this file photo plowing through the Indian Ocean, has just been redeployed for patrol duties in the South China Sea.

DEFENSE Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Saturday visited a US aircraft carrier patrolling the South China Sea, hailing the “strong relationship” with Washington despite President Rodrigo Duterte’s pivot away from Manila’s traditional ally.

The US Navy said the USS Carl Vinson had been engaging in “routine operations in the South China Sea” since last month to assert freedom of navigation in the strategic waterway claimed by Beijing, Manila and a host of other Southeast Asian nations.

Lorenzana said he and other top officials in Duterte’s administration had a “very interesting and informative” visit to the aircraft carrier.

“We have a strong relationship with the US on account of our mutual defense treaty,” he added, referring to the cornerstone 1951 agreement.

READ MORE...

Duterte has thrown the Philippines’ 70-year-old alliance with the US into question, threatening a “separation” from Washington last year and calling for the withdrawal of American troops from his country.

After angrily rejecting US criticism of his deadly war on drugs, the President has shifted his nation’s foreign policy more towards China and Russia.

Duterte has made overtures to Beijing despite a long-running territorial dispute over the South China Sea.

Lorenzana said the Philippines had “nothing to do” with America’s naval patrols through Chinese-claimed waters but said he was “impressed” by the aircraft carrier and its some 70 aircraft.

“They have more combat planes than the [Philippine Air Force],” he said.

Under previous governments, Manila tried to improve defense ties with its former colonial ruler Washington to boost one of Asia’s weakest armed forces.

Duterte has said he plans to source weapons from Beijing and Moscow instead.

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RELATED FROM THE TRIBUNE

China to further modernize military to safeguard security Written by PNA Monday, 06 March 2017 00:00



BEIJING — Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said yesterday that China will continue to revolutionize and modernize its national defense and armed forces by strengthening maritime and air defense to safeguard the country’s sovereignty, security and interest.

“We will continue to deepen reforms in national defense and the armed forces,” Li said in his 42-page central government’s report during the opening of the Fifth Session of the 12th National People’s Congress at the Great Hall of the People here.

Aside from maritime and air defense, Li said China will also strengthen border control and to properly organize counter-terrorism, safeguarding stability, international peacekeeping and high seas protection efforts.

“We will enhance our capacity for innovation in defense-related science and technology and step up the development of advanced logistics and equipment,” he said.

Li said military-civilian integration will also be intensified and strengthen national defense mobilization and readiness of reserve forces.

“We at every level of government should take more solid and vigorous steps to support the reform and development of our national defense and armed forces,” the Premier said.

Li reported that the government under President Xi Jingping had achieved major breakthroughs in the reform of national defense and military.

“We made fresh progress and new achievements in our work to make the military more revolutionary, modern and well-structured,” he said.

Li said the government’s goal this year to continue military modernization is in line with Communist Party of China (CPC)’s objective of strengthening the armed forces in a new era.

“We will boost military training and preparedness, so as to ensure that the sovereignty, security and development interest of China are resolutely and effectively safeguarded,” Li said.

“We will uphold the Party’s absolute leadership over the armed forces and uphold and implement the system whereby the Chairman of the Central Military Commission assumes overall responsibility over military affairs,” he added.

President Xi Jinping is also chairman of the Central Military Commission and secretary general of CPC, the country’s ruling political party.

On Saturday, Fu Ying, 12th NPC spokesman, said at a press conference that China will increase its defense budget by seven percent in 2017 from last year’s 954.3 billion Yuan (roughly $146 billion).

The military budget of China, the world’s second largest economy, is 1.3 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) which grew 6.7 percent year-on-year to 74.41 trillion yuan, or $10.83 trillion in 2016.

Li said government eyes around 6.5 percent in 2017, hoping to create additional 11 million new urban jobs or less than three million jobs the country achieved last year.


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