Abella blames media for 'misunderstanding' war on drugs

Pia Gutierrez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 09 2017 07:51 PM

Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella on Tuesday blamed the media for creating a misunderstanding of the Duterte administration's war on drugs.

The statement came after 45 countries expressed concern over extrajudicial killings in the Philippines during the Universal Periodic Review of the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC).

"Basically there has been a misunderstanding about what we are actually doing. The review is actually wanting to know the accountability that we have and so that is exactly what we want to present," Abella said.

"Our situation has been overtaken by the media hype, and media noise, and apparently concerted effort in trying to create a noise beyond what is really there."

During the presentation of the Philippine delegation to the HRC, Senator Alan Peter Cayetano pointed out a seemingly concerted effort by critics of the administration, the Commission on Human Rights, and local 'media activists' to change the definition of extra-judicial killings. 

This, he said, is "to deceive the public and foreign media into believing that there is a sudden wave of state-sponsored extrajudicial killings." 

The Duterte administration earlier denied the existence of state-sponsored killings.

Cayetano also scored the media for failing to report the killings during the Aquino administration, which he said, varied from 11,000 to 16,000 yearly. 

He also asked why there were no "apples to apples comparison" of the figures of the past and present administration. 

Under the Duterte administration, over 2,700 have been killed in anti-drug operations. There were also 9,432 homicide cases from July 1, 2016 to March 31, 2017, of which 1,847 were found to be drug-related. 

Abella added that although they are concerned, the administration is not out to change the international community's perception about the Philippine situation. 

"They are open to comments, they are open to present their own criticisms, opinions, however we will continue to pursue our own line of action," he said.

The administration assured the public that the killings will be investigated. 

"Everything is subjective to due process. We are investigating everything that needs to be investigated," Abella said.