Palace: No basis for HRW accusations vs Duterte

Trishia Billones, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 02 2017 10:13 AM | Updated as of Mar 02 2017 11:17 AM

A Palace official on Thursday said there is no basis in saying President Rodrigo Duterte is behind the thousands killed in his administration's drug war after an international human rights watchdog released a report on the alleged abuses in the anti-drug campaign.

Human Rights Watch released on Thursday its report after four months of investigation into the alleged abuse of power by policemen carrying out the controversial war on drugs. The group said some cops may be involved in so-called extrajudicial killings.

They also said President Duterte may be brought to the international court for his failure to act on these killings.

Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo said, however, that there is no proof that the President is behind the spate of deaths.

"What I’m saying is there is no basis that the President is behind all these killings. He is saying that there is corruption of the policemen, but that doesn’t mean that he is behind the corruption of these policemen," he said in an interview with ANC's "Headstart."

"They're saying that there are police that are killing, that doesn’t say that he is the one behind these killings," he added.

Panelo also insisted Duterte is actually trying to solve the country's problem.

"The reverse is true. He is precisely doing something to stop the drug menace in this country," he said, adding that some of the killings were conducted by criminal syndicates.

He also noted that, like the Commission on Human Rights under then-Chairperson Leila de Lima, the Human Rights Watch has yet to walk the talk and file charges against Duterte.

"They have been insisting the President is behind crimes, but they have not made any move to bring him to court. All we hear are talks and they have not presented any evidence," he said.

"They have some witnesses go into the Senate, saying something and then the same witness recanting. What do they really have except all talks that have no basis?" he added.

The Human Rights Watch has said they will send a copy of the report to Malacañang, and Panelo said he will read it once it arrives.