PH extrajudicial killings slammed at Washington hearing
WATCH: US Congress Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission hearing on PH war on drugs
WASHINGTON, DC – The House of Representatives’human rights commission on Thursday, July 20 heard testimonies against President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs, which has generated negative international press for his administration due to so-called extrajudicial or arbitrary killings of suspected drug addicts and traffickers.
“I certainly believe very strongly, a man with the human rights record of President Duterte should not be invited to the White House, and if he comes, I will lead the protest,” declared Democratic Rep. James McGovern (D) co-chair of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission of the US Congress.
Human rights advocates Ellecer Carlos of the Philippines-based In Defense of Human Rights and Dignity movement (iDefend), Human Rights Watch Asia deputy director Phelim Kine and Amnesty International senior adviser Matthew Wells testified at the two-hour hearing.
Carlos urged Congress to press the Duterte administration to stop the program that has allegedly killed thousands of suspected drug addicts and pushers. He accused the Philippine government of denying due process to the victims who were mostly poor people and of cheapening the value of life in the Philippines. He said further that the government only gives lip service to drug rehabilitation as an alternative to the killings.
The commission said the Philippines receives the biggest US aid in Southeast Asia including anti-narcotics and anti-terror assistance to the national police.
Kine and Wells accused the Philippine government of giving law enforcers the license to kill and of carrying out a deadly program with impunity.
Rep. Jackie Speier (D-California) called the Philippine government’s drug war “deranged state-sanctioned vigilantism” that is damaging the Philippines’ international standing.
In Manila, government spokespersons asked the commission to respect due process and to not jump to conclusions. Foreign affairs secretary Alan Cayetano criticized the hearing, declaring that the Philippine government is not accountable to the United States.