Palace won’t condone ‘excessive use of force’

MALACAÑANG said Tuesday the government was taking seriously the criticisms on its war on drugs, adding it would not tolerate the excessive use of force by law enforcers.

Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque made the statement in response to Senator Panfilo Lacson’s challenge to answer the European Parliament’s criticisms with facts and not insults.

“We are taking it seriously, but we don’t have to broadcast everything that we are doing,” Roque told reporters.

But Senator Risa Hontiveros on Tuesday slammed the Duterte administration’s foreign policy, saying  it was protecting impunity rather than Philippine sovereignty.

She made her statement after Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano accused the European Parliament of “interference in Philippine affairs” and “crossing a red line” by passing a resolution condemning the Duterte administration’s war on drugs and extrajudicial killings.

“President Duterte’s foreign policy is protecting impunity not sovereignty. He and his ilk are the ones who are ‘crossing the red line’,” Hontiveros said. 

“His foreign-policy people like to use the word ‘sovereignty’ when what they really want to do is silence all forms of dissent, domestic and international, while they stay appallingly silent about China’s blatant incursions into our territory.

“This administration likes to insist that its war on drugs, which violates our international commitments to human rights, is an issue of sovereignty, but in the same breath it cannot defend our territory against China. This is not a defense of sovereignty. It is shameless cowardice.”

Meanwhile, another opposition Senator, Leila de Lima, welcomed the official resolution adopted by the European parliament urging the Philippine government to drop all the politically-motivated charges against her and end any further acts of harassment against her.

Roque said the Philippine National Police was doing its best to make sure that policemen were not engaged in extra-judicial killings in its war on drugs.

In response to a European Union lawmaker’s call to review the grant of GSP Plus status to the Philippines, Roque said it was the EU’s prerogative but Duterte had repeatedly made clear his position on the  alleged extra-legal killings tainting his war on drugs.

“He [Duterte] stands by the police when they are in the discharge of their official function. When they commit acts outside their official functions, he will order an arrest,” Roque said. PNA, with Macon Ramos-Araneta

Subject to international conventions, the Philippines under GSP Plus has been allowed to export some 6,000 eligible products to EU member states duty-free since December 2014.

Roque said the PNP was halfway done in its investigation of policemen who might have engaged in the excessive use of force in fulfilling their duties to fight illegal drugs.

As concurrent presidential adviser on human rights, Roque said, he had coordinated with the PNP to document each of the reported killings.

“We’re half way done, so in a few months I will have a file each of every killing reported by the PNP indicating that there was no excessive use of force,” Roque said.

“And if there is reason to file charges against the killers, then I will have to file charges so that all these criticisms that we are not doing anything will stop.” 

Topics: war on drugs , Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque , European Parliament , Philippine National Police
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