MANILA - The governor of Bulacan on Wednesday lamented the widespread killings in the province, which made it the "bloodiest killing field" in the country according to an Amnesty International report.
"Talagang nakakalungkot at nakakabahala 'yung report ng Amnesty International kung saan 'yung aking lalawigan ay deadliest killing field dahil marami raw ang nasawi," Bulacan Gov. Daniel Fernando told radio DZMM.
(The Amnesty International report calling my province as the deadliest killing field is really saddening and concerning.)
"Una po sa lahat nais ko pong ipahayag na sumusuporta tayo sa laban kontra droga. Ito po ay syempre salot na dapat labanan. Gayunpaman, dapat po natin tiyakin na walang anumang paglabag sa karapatang pantao."
(First of all, I would like to express my support for the war on drugs, as it is a problem that should be fought. Nevertheless, we should ensure that human rights are not violated.)
In a report released Monday, the London-based human rights group said it investigated 27 killings between May 2018 to April 2019 in Bulacan.
The report was released ahead of a United Nations vote to adopt a resolution seeking to investigate the Philippines' anti-narcotics campaign.
Fernando welcomed the UN's proposed investigation into the drug war.
"Wala pong problema roon. Sinumang nagpapairal ng kultura ng karahasan ay dapat managot sa batas. Whether you are a drug offender or a scalawag police officer, we all must be held accountable to the rule of law," he said.
(There's no problem with that. Whoever is spreading the culture of violence should answer to the law.)
"Yun po ang importante 'yung human rights. Kung sinumang mag-iimbestiga wala pong problema doon."
(What's important are human rights. There's no problem with whoever would investigate.)
The newly-elected governor said he has called for an emergency meeting with the province's police chiefs on Thursday.
"Ibibigay po natin kung ano yung dapat nilang gawin. Dapat pairalin mas lalo, una sa lahat ang pagmamahal sa Diyos, pangalawa ang due process," he said.
(We will give them orders on what they should do. Love with God and due process should prevail.)
"Nakasuporta naman po tayo sa anumang adhikain ng Pangulo. Ayoko rin malagay sa palad ng alanganin ang buhay ng ating mga police officer. Binabalanse po natin lahat 'yan."
(We support the President's advocacies. I also don't want my policemen's lives to be on the line. We balance it all.)
The Philippine National Police earlier rejected AI's tag, saying it made a "hasty, sweeping generalization," while Malacañang said the group was "politicizing" extrajudicial killings.