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Palace expects due process in US probe

By: PNA and Argyll Cyrus B. Geducos

Malacañang expects due process to be observed in an investigation by a human rights panel of the United States House of Representatives on President Duterte’s war on drugs.

The Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, a bi-partisan caucus in the US House of Representatives, will investigate the “human rights consequences” of the Philippines’ war against illegal drugs Thursday.

According to the commission, lawmakers will study how the anti-narcotics campaign is being implemented in the country and then issue recommendations on ways to address drug-related problems.

They will also recommend policies that would “ensure” accountability on alleged human rights violations by security personnel.

In a Palace briefing, presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said the Duterte administration respect the views of the commission and greatly values the support of the United States that they have given and continue to give to the Philippines as the government addresses important economic and social development objectives.

“Having said that, we also believe that the issues that are the focus of the commission hearing must be discussed in the context of the scope of the challenge that we face and the actions that we are taking to address it,” he said.

“The universality of human rights presupposes due process be observed by all and, as such, any proceedings that allege wrongdoing should provide the opportunity for all sides to be considered,” Abella said.

He stressed that insinuations and hasty judgments have no place in due process and “numbers should be verified and information should be cross-checked so that the ensuing conclusions have a solid basis in fact.”

Abella also highlighted the need to fight illegal drugs, saying drug trafficking fuels terrorism, one of the major global concerns that is also affecting the Philippines.

“Global experts have recognized the intrinsic link between terrorism and crime, specifically the manufacture and trafficking of illicit drugs,” he pointed out.

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