By JOHN AARON MARK MACARAEG
MANILA — A kilometer away from Batasang Pambansa, thousands strongly protested the administration’s bloody war on drugs, Monday.
But President Rodrigo Duterte in his State of the Nation Address said that his “war” will continue. “It has been three years since I took my oath of office, and it pains me to say that we have not learned our lesson. The illegal drug problem persists. Corruption continues and emasculates the courage we need to sustain our moral recovery initiatives,” said Duterte in his speech at the start of 18th Congress, July 22.
Human rights groups have condemned his implementation of the anti-drug campaign, which resulted in thousands of victims of extrajudicial killings.
The huge number of victims of extrajudicial killings already attracted the attention of the United Nation Human Rights Council (UNHRC), which recently adopted a resolution to investigate the human rights situation in the country.
Duterte already expressed unwillingness to cooperate with the UN body and instead advocated for death penalty for drug-related crimes.
“I am aware that we still have a long way to go in our fight against this social menace. Let the reason why I advocate the imposition of the death penalty for crimes related to illegal drugs,” said Duterte in front of legislators.
Human rights alliance Karapatan called this “a reaffirmation of his militarist, fascist and ineffective governance.”
“His marching orders to pass the death penalty measures, on top of his bloody drug war and counterinsurgency speak of his ineffective and blatantly anti-people kill-kill-kill solution and policy framework,” Karapatan said in a statement.
“His exhortations to pursue the question of peace through his counterinsurgency policy and anti-communist task force will only result in further deaths, illegal arrests, torture and other dire violations on the people’s civil and political rights,” the group further said.
Karapatan has reported 145 human rights defenders killed during Duterte administration.
Meanwhile, the National Union of Peoples (NUPL) Lawyers, whose members have been included in the so-called “Oust Duterte matrix”, questioned the promise of Duterte to end drugs in the country for three to six months and his failure to do so.
“…All he did was to end the lives of thousands of Filipinos the police officers conveniently tagged as either “nanlaban” suspects or collaterals. And worse, justice remains elusive for all of these victims as the State perpetrators exploit and contort existing laws to suit their whims and ensure impunity,” said NUPL in a statement.
The lawyers’ group also called out the reluctance of the administration about the UNHRC resolution and the several politicians charged with plunder seated before the President that they asked, “For whom, really, is the death penalty this administration vehemently pushes for?”