MANILA — Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella on Tuesday emphasized that the government is investigating allegations of drug-related killings, extrajudicial deaths, and media violence to ensure the accountability of the perpetrators.
Abella made the statement in reaction to the European Union (EU)’s Report on Human Rights and Democracy in the World in 2016 which was released last week.
He said while the report discussed the significant gains of the administration in other areas of governance, it also mentioned what it called “a serious deterioration in respect for the right of life, due process and the rule of law.”
“It cited the war on drugs and the prevailing culture of impunity of human right defenders and media workers,” he said.
While saying government is investigating the killings, Abella also said it must be underscored that all the drug-related deaths arising from legitimate police operations “resulted when the suspects fought back and the police had to act on self-defense based on the rules of engagement.”
“Thus, while they remain as suspects, their violent resistance against police officers whose lives were put at risk are considered actionable offenses,” he said.
Abella pointed out that the congressional hearings that were convened to look into the allegations “have proven that the State does not sanction wanton and unjustified killings.”
“Impunity does not have a place in this Administration,” he said.
Meanwhile, Abella noted that the report also acknowledged the efforts of the Philippine government in walking the extra mile for peace, particularly in what the EU described as the “new momentum provided to the Mindanao peace process.”
“The report likewise stated the Philippines’ very high ranking on gender equality ratings and EU’s full support in the full implementation of the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive health Act, which the President included in his 10-Point socioeconomic agenda. In addition, PRRD signed Executive Order No 12 which aims to attain and sustain ‘zero unmet need for modern family planning,’” he said.