Palace: Rights group plays blind, deaf, and dumb

Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 10 2017 11:14 AM

FILE PHOTO: A police officer lists down names of suspected drug users and pushers at a processing center in Tondo, Manila on July 13, 2016. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Malacañang on Sunday said an international human rights group has "a penchant for playing blind, deaf and dumb," after it accused the Philippine government of ignoring alleged abuses under its anti-narcotics drive. 

"The latest remarks of the Human Rights Watch (HRW) that the Philippine government has not made genuine efforts to seek accountability on alleged abuses in our anti-drug campaign are simply off track," Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a statement. 

"HRW has a penchant for playing blind, deaf and dumb, refusing to acknowledge the efforts of the Administration in addressing alleged abuses of scalawag policemen," Roque added. 

No policeman has been prosecuted or convicted over the death of thousands of drug suspects in the campaign, lamented Param-Preet Singh, associate director of HRW's International Justice Program.

Singh, in a statement last week, also noted that Duterte has vowed to pardon and reinstate officers tagged in the killings, and has "harassed" United Nations officials who have sought accountability for the killings. 

"The government has made no genuine efforts to seek accountability for drug war abuses... The government claims of its preparedness to prosecute offenders is grotesquely deceptive in the face of this grim reality," she said. 

But Roque reminded the New York-based HRW that Caloocan cops were relieved in September while the entire national police was removed from the drug war in October because of alleged abuses. 

He added that state forces accused of perpetrating abuses should be accorded the same due process as alleged victims. 

President Rodrigo Duterte last week allowed policemen to participate anew in anti-drug efforts. 

Some 970 sacked Caloocan policemen, meanwhile, have passed retraining and can now return to work after strict evaluation. 

The government has said over 3,800 were killed in legitimate anti-drug operations while some 1.3 million drug users surrendered.