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‘Cheap vilification campaign’

05:02 AM April 04, 2018

Malacañang’s assertion that drug lords are funding and using human rights groups and advocates is not only baseless, but outright irresponsible.

Further exposing the failure of the Duterte administration’s drug war to prosecute and hold accountable big-time drug personalities, such statements are an insult to the whole work of human rights!

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Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque and Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano are today’s Pontius Pilate, seeking to wash their hands of responsibility in addressing the root causes of addiction in our communities, as well as expelling the illegal drug trade from the country.

Instead, they have sought to project their failures on the very people who stand on the side of right and social transformation.

Who really coddles the big-time drug lords in this country?

Who has been prosecuted for passing billions worth of shabu through the Bureau of Customs?

Most of the 13,000 victims of drug-related and extrajudicial killings under the Duterte administration were small peddlers, pushers, users and even innocent victims from poor families. Meanwhile, big-time personalities and drug lords have even been spared from criminal charges.

Self-proclaimed human-rights-lawyer-turned-presidential-apologist Harry Roque should be aware that his recent statements maligning human rights groups and advocates place their lives in peril, creating an opening for any attack from state forces.

Seeking to implicate human rights work as being in cahoots with the drug trade is a cheap vilification campaign, aimed at harassing and discrediting the human rights community.

The Filipino people should hold the Duterte administration accountable for these dastardly tactics that trample on the democratic rights of the people, as well as demonize legitimate human rights work.

Rise Up for Life and for Rights stands by our commitment to journey with the poor — whose basic human rights have been discounted, disrespected, and violated by this current administration. We will continue to assist those who seek justice.

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We urge fellow human rights advocates, the families of victims of extrajudicial killings, and every peace-loving Filipino to stand firmly united against these unfounded attacks of the Duterte administration.

We rebuke handwashing naysayers of universal human rights like Roque and Cayetano. They have become traitors of truth and the Filipino people. #StopTheKillings

FR. GILBERT BILLENA, O. Carm, spokesperson, Rise Up for Life and for Rights

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TAGS: Alan Peter Cayetano, drug killings, drug lords, EJKs, extrajudicial killings, Gilbert Billena, Harry Roque, Inquirer letters, war on drugs
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