MANILA - The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) on Tuesday welcomed President Rodrigo Duterte's order for the police and military to "re-assess" the campaign against illegal drugs.
"With this recognition and admission of the existence of abuses, we are hopeful that the administration will utilize all means to exact accountability from all perpetrators," CHR spokesperson Jacqueline de Guia said in a statement.
The commission said social problems such as poverty, inequality, and lack of education "must be addressed to tackle the root causes of the problems simultaneous with effective law enforcement."
"May this new directive help ensure that law enforcers will truly embody the laws they seek to enforce and re-imbibe their sworn duty to serve and protect the rights of the people at all times."
Duterte on Monday gave the order to give the anti-drug campaign a second look as he told police not to abuse their power.
"Sinabi ko naman sa pulis huwag kayong mag-abuso (I told police not to commit abuses). You can kill them legally. And why do you have to kill them illegally? If you are there in the performance of your duty and there’s only one instance where you can kill --- really kill a person whether a criminal or whatnot is that your life is in danger in the performance of your duty," he said in a speech in Malacañang.
"Kaya ang mga pulis, mga military, kindly re-assess the --- marami kasi of late, marami ang mga pulis nasabit (So to the police and military, kindly reassess the... there are many incidents of late, many police officers involved). Why do you have to kill them illegally?" he added.
The President has also said he would not pardon the three policemen convicted for the murder of teenager Kian Delos Santos, the 17-year-old slain in an anti-drug operation in Caloocan City last year.
“No, of course not. Maybe 1 million years from now,” Duterte said when asked whether he would pardon the convicted cops.
More than 4,000 drug suspects have been killed in police anti-drug operations under the Duterte administration because they resisted arrest, authorities have said.
Human rights groups, meanwhile, contend that the death toll, including alleged victims of summary killings, could be more than 10,000.