By Genalyn Kabiling
Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque is hoping that President Rodrigo Roa Duterte will soon be able to get over his “allergy” to human rights issues.
Roque, a human rights advocate, said the President was committed to keep the government’s drug crackdown in accordance with the rule of law, and will never condone abusive cops.
“Sana po mawala ang kaniyang allergy diyan ‘no sa human rights (We hope his allergy on human rights goes away),” the Kabayan party-list lawmaker said in a radio interview.
“Ako po naniniwala, na bagama’t sabi nga ni Presidente eh malikot ang kaniyang dila, ang kaniyang paninindigan bilang abogado, bilang piskal ay ipatupad ang batas, hindi po para lumabag sa batas (I believe that despite being a motormouth, the President, a lawyer and a former prosecutor, believes in enforcing the law, not violating the law),” he said.
He also underscored that the President, being a lawyer by profession, will always govern on the side of the law, maintaining further that the drug war he has ordered will always be within the rule of the law.
“Itong karapatang pantao, nagkaintindihan kami na bilang isang piskal, bilang isang abogado, hindi niya layunin na lumabag sa batas [On human rights, we both understand as a fiscal and a lawyer, he has no intention of violating the law],” he said.
“Nais niyang manalo sa giyera laban sa droga na sang-ayon sa Saligang Batas at ayon sa ating batas [He wants to win the war on drugs within the bounds of the Constitution and our laws],” he added.
He pointed out that it was the President who ordered the arrest of the policemen involved in the controversial killing of teenager Kian delos Santos. He said that while the President had promised to protect any policeman performing his duty, he will not do so for those who will abuse their authority and violate the law.
The Duterte government has drawn heavy criticisms from groups here and abroad over the alleged summary killings of suspects linked to the drug war. The police claimed that more than 3,000 persons have been killed in the operations but critics argued the death toll is actually higher.
Annoyed by criticisms of the drug war he has ordered waged, the President has pulled out the police from the anti-drug efforts and let the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) to lead the campaign. Duterte has given PDEA six months to make a dent on the drug problem, and hinted that he will bring back the police if it fails to do its job.