International non-governmental organization Human Rights Watch (HRW) lambasted President Rodrigo Duterte’s recent announcement that he would soon return the power of the Philippine National Police’s (PNP) over the government’s fight contra illegal drugs.
HRW’s Asia Deputy Director Phelim Kine said that the return of police anti-drug operations may boost the risk of summary killings.
“The Duterte government’s apparent desire to resume the murderous drug war underscores the need for a United Nations-led international investigation into the killings. Until that happens, the number of victims denied justice and accountability will likely only continue to grow,” Kine said in a press release.
Duterte said on Wednesday in a speech during his visit to the headquarters of Special Operations Command that he eyes returning the PNP to the war zone of “Oplan Tokhang” after he removed its control and assigned the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) as a sole agency in charge in the drug war.
“But as of now, just to, you know, just to parry, inilagay ko sa (I designated to) PDEA. But whether I like it or not, I have to return that power to the police because surely, it will increase the activity of shabu,” Duterte earlier said.
Kine stressed that the resumption of police anti-drug operations was not wholly unexpected.
“Duterte may also have been emboldened by unwillingness of either US President Donald Trump or fellow Association of Southeast Asian Nations leaders to publicly challenge the drug war slaughter during the ASEAN 2017 Summit, which the Philippines hosted earlier this month,” he added.