MANILA - Malacañang on Wednesday called Amnesty International "stubborn" and "hopeless" after the London-based human rights group denied it was "politicizing" the government's drug war, as the Palace earlier alleged.
"Amnesty International not only is stubborn but incorrigible as well, when it insists on pursuing and advancing a baseless and false narrative on the government’s war on drugs, specifically on the nature and number of deaths arising therefrom," Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a statement.
The statement came after Amnesty Philippines section director Butch Olano said the group does not have any political agenda.
"First, we really cannot understand what he means by politicizing. We do not have any political agenda, we are a non-partisan human rights group. We are independent," Olano told ANC's Dateline Philippines.
Olano also told Panelo to "do his homework" as he said the data in Amnesty's report came from the Philippine National Police.
The spokesperson retorted, saying he did his homework, "contrary to the slanted headline of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, as the biased London-based human rights group suggested."
"According to the Philippine Daily Inquirer quoting Amnesty International’s Philippines section director, it is the government, referring to the Philippine National Police, that places cases of extrajudicial killings at 27,000," Panelo said.
"This is one big lie and part of the false advocacies widely peddled by the President’s critics and detractors, considering that those who have been neutralized in the anti-illegal drug campaign are less than a fifth of this bloated figure," he said.
Panelo challenged the human rights group to "cite facts and figures on the names of the alleged 27,000 extrajudicial deaths, as well as the circumstances surrounding those deaths. "
"Otherwise, their failure will only validate the grotesque falsity of their claim and lace it with condemnable malice," he said.
Amnesty International, in a report released last July 8, said it found that “extrajudicial executions” continue to take place in the country, 3 years after President Rodrigo Duterte's anti-drug campaign was launched.
It also claimed that Bulacan is now the country’s bloodiest killing field based on the high number of fatalities in the area.