Rights groups being used by drug lords in destab efforts: Palace

MANILA Since illegal drug trade is a multibillion peso industry, drug lords can easily finance destabilization efforts against the government, MalacaAang said Monday.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. made this comment after Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano claimed that some non-government organizations (NGOs) have become unwitting tools by drug lords to stop President Rodrigo Duterte's campaign against illegal drugs.

The attacks against the President's war on drugs have been vicious and non-stop, Roque said in a press statement.

We therefore do not discount the possibility that some human rights groups have become unwitting tools of drug lords to hinder the strikes made by the administration, he added.

Roque said drug lords will do their best to discredit the country's war on drugs, which Duterte started when he assumed office in 2016.

The illegal drug trade is a multibillion peso industry and billions have been lost with the voluntary surrender of more than a million drug users, arrest of tens of thousands of drug personalities, and seizure of billion-peso clandestine drug laboratories and factories, Roque said.

To continue to do and thrive in the drug business, these drugs lords can easily use their drug to fund destabilization efforts against the government, he added.

Recently, Duterte decided to withdraw the Philippines' ratification of the Rome Statute which created the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The move was fueled by ICC Special Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda's attempt to put Duterte within the jurisdiction of the ICC".

Duterte has described as brazen ignorance of the law the ICC's attempt to conduct preliminary examination on extrajudicial killings being linked to his war on drugs.

Roque has said ICC was violating the principle of complementarity wherein the ICC can only conduct investigation on allegations of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes if local courts are unable or unwilling to do so.

It was Jude Sabio, the lawyer of self-confessed hitman Edgar Matobato, who lodged a complaint against Duterte for alleged crimes against humanity in April last year in connection with his war on drugs.

Senator Antonio Trillanes IV and Party-list Rep. Gary Alejandro of Magdalo also filed a complaint against Duterte in 2017 before the ICC based on the President's pronouncements to kill drug addicts.

Contrary to human rights groups' claim that the war on drugs has caused over 7,000 deaths, the government had said only 4,000 drug suspects were killed in legitimate" drug operations.

Source: Philippine News Agency

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