MANILA-- The Washington-based US Pinoys for Real Change in the Philippines (USPRCP) has branded the US Congressional hearing on President Rodrigo R. Duterte's drug war a "kangaroo proceeding".
"It is not only one sided but obviously orchestrated by 'serial critics' who continue to mischaracterize the Philippine drug war," said Rev. Atty. Arnedo S. Valera, USPRCP chairperson, in a statement e-mailed to this writer Thursday.
"Similar to the US, the drug problem in the Philippines is an epidemic where a strict drug enforcement policy and rehabilitation/treatment must be combined to save the country from becoming a narco state and ensuring hope for the future of the young generation," Valera added.
"Lumping and attributing alleged 10,000 nationwide killings, homicide, murders into one category and brand them as extrajudicial killings perpetrated by the government, its police and military, is not only unfounded and baseless but ignorance of basic human rights law," Valera said.
He said the Philippines is facing a two-pronged drug wars.
According to valera, one is the war between the government versus drug lords, drug cartels, low-level drug offenders, police scalawags, corrupt politicians engaged in drug trafficking.
He stressed that these are legitimate operations that have caused more than 2,000 deaths.
The second war is the war between and among drug cartels vs drug cartels, drug lords, police scalawags, vigilantes and corrupt politicians which has caused thousands of undetermined deaths, Valera added.
These nonstate actors even prior to President Rodrigo Duterte's assumption of office have been killing and eliminating each other in thousands to silence and cover up and protect their multibillion international drug trade, he added.
When you blame the President, our police and our military for all the killings nationwide, you are not only unfairly presuming that our government and police are all killers who are out there with orders to kill anyone involved in drugs, but you are destroying the basic notion of accountability of non state actors in the 'second face' of the current Philippine Drug War," Valera further stated.
He added "it is the height of political hypocrisy" for a US Congressional Committee to conduct a hearing about a country whose political leader is with more than 82 percent popularity and has adopted a bold, decisive and strict enforcement of its domestic laws to combat and eradicate drug problem nationwide, under the rule of law and within the role of law.
In our own backyard, it is important to underscore what the US Atty. General Jeff Sessions in his address to the assembly of DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education), he said.
Valera said that according to Sessions, drug abuse has become an epidemic in the United States today, adding that in 2016, it has claimed more than 62,000 lives lost to drug overdose.
He also said that Session noted that drug abuse is not only a concern about treatment but law enforcement and prevention.
Valera said that Sessions recognized that drug trafficking is an inherently violent business where there is a need for a strict law enforcement policy which the US is now lacking.
"What this US Congressional hearing has done has weakened the more than 70 years of Philippine-US relations by undue interference in the Philippine domestic policy of law enforcement and its existing drug programs. There is no state sanctioned killings in this drug war. The Philippine police and our military, many of whom received training in the US, are the Philippines' ordinary heroes and heroine who save lives on the daily basis and protect the integrity of the Filipino nation," Valera stressed.
"If the US wanted to help in the Philippine drug war, then it should declare its support to President Duterte's drug war especially the treatment and rehabilitation of more than one million drug addicts who have voluntarily surrendered and not destroy the already tenuous relationship between the two countries," Valera concluded.
Source: Philippine News Agency