Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 8)— Malacañang on Monday slammed Amnesty International for “politicizing” the so-called extrajudicial killings under President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.
In a media briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo called out the group for implying that the killings were intentional, adding the report was done with bias and prejudice.
“I think it is incorrigible on the part of the Amnesty International to make that call,” Panelo told reporters. “It keeps on calling for an investigation ever since, but the fact remains that the basis for their call is factually wrong.”
“The problem is this Amnesty International is always politicizing the so-called extrajudicial killings of this country. There is bias, there is prejudice.”
Amnesty International, in its report "They Just Kill,” slammed the lack of “meaningful accountability” of government officials amid the ongoing drug war.
The group likewise urged international bodies, including the International Criminal Court and the United Nations Human Rights Council, to conduct independent investigations into the alleged human rights violations in the country.
Panelo, however, stressed these international groups do not need to meddle in the affairs of the country, as the Philippines has its own human rights bodies. He called on families of drug war victims to instead file appropriate charges against police officers who commit violations.
“We'd rather have our own groups here protective of human rights to help those who feel that there have been police abuse in the matter of police operations,” the spokesman said.
“Let our own group assist our own Filipinos. We don't need them. We don't need interference from any other human rights group,” he added.
The Justice Department meanwhile echoed the sentiment, saying that the agency and the National Bureau of Investigation are "ready and willing to investigate and prosecute" police officers if proper complaints are filed.
"There's no need for Amnesty International to urge us to investigate possible violations of law by law enforcement agents in the conduct of the government's anti-illegal drug campaign," Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said in a statement.
"Until witnesses come forward and testify, however, the presumption of regularity in the performance of official duty by our law enforcement officers shall be respected."
Duterte has repeatedly said he does not tolerate extrajudicial killings perpetuated by the police, but at the same time vowed to protect government troops who carry out his anti-drug campaign. The current administration said the fight against illegal drugs will remain steadfast to protect innocent Filipinos.
CNN Philippines' Ina Andolong and Anjo Alimario contributed to this report.