Press Release
September 1, 2016

Cayetano: Duterte's war on drugs a war to protect human rights, ensure safety & welfare of Filipinos

"Our war against illegal drugs is not a war against life, but a war to fight for the lives of all Filipinos. It is not a war against human rights, but a war to protect human rights, and to ensure the safety and welfare of the Filipino family."

Senator Alan Peter Cayetano stressed this in his privilege speech on Wednesday (August 31) amid false reports in foreign press about human rights issues in the conduct of the administration's intensified campaign against illegal drugs.

Contrary to claims of the Commission on Human Rights, Cayetano said the government's strong policies against criminality have made it possible for Filipino families to begin feeling safer, particularly since the government waged an all-out war on drugs.

The senator reiterated that President Rodrigo Duterte has not wavered in his commitment to uphold and protect the human rights of every Filipino at any time, contrary to what the President's critics are trying to portray.

He added the government's unrelenting campaign against illegal drugs has actually improved the country's peace and order situation.

"Narinig po natin sa sariling bibig ng ating Pangulo na ang human rights ay importante sa ating bansa. Pero hindi pwedeng gamitin ang human rights para hindi ituloy ang drug war," Cayetano said. "If you listen to the President's speeches... palagi niyang sinasabi that he will operate within the confines of the Philippine Constitution. He will respect the Bill of Rights and the rule of law," he intoned.

The senator pointed out that the drug menace has reached alarming levels that nothing short of bold and swift solutions are needed to end the problem.

He said criminality was already rampant under previous administrations at the rate of almost 1,000-2,000 incidents of murders and homicides every month. The only difference, he said, is that in the past, innocent citizens were hounded and victimized by hardened criminals and drug pushers. But today, it's the law that's hounding the drug pushers and criminals, he noted.

"Don't you feel safer today than six years ago? Wala pong sense of security ang Pilipino dati... Dati, ang takot ay ang tao... Ngayon, nararamdaman ng mga tao ang pagbabago... Ngayon ang kriminal na ang takot, hindi ang mamamayan." he said.

Cayetano also denounced Duterte's detractors' penchant to blame the administration for all the drug-related killings in the country. He said the slack use of "extrajudicial killings" (EJKs) to label all suspected drug casualties puts in question the motive behind the investigation being conducted by Sen. Leila De Lima's Committee on Justice.

"Are some people using the term EJK loosely not because they are human rights advocates... [but] to discredit the PNP and the Duterte administration?" Cayetano asked as he reiterated his call for De Lima to inhibit herself from the inquiry.

Cayetano said labeling the deaths of drug suspects as EJKs is obviously meant to create the wrong perception that the State is initiating the executions and is doing nothing to resolve the crimes.

"The State, the executive department, legislative department, and the judiciary, are doing its best to ensure that the rule of law prevails. Even the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) is part of the state and is already investigating," the senator pointed out.

Cayetano, meanwhile, said he remains confident of President Duterte's continuous efforts to uphold human rights while also ensuring the safety and protection of all families.

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