Senator Alan Peter Cayetano on Friday, May 5, cited the gains of the Duterte administration’s intensified campaign against illegal drugs before state representatives to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland.
Cayetano is part of the Philippine delegation team attending the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) to present the country’s human rights-based development programs and measures adopted to fulfill its obligations to the eight international treaties ratified in the past years.
In a side event three days prior to the UPR review on May 8, the senator spoke in defense of the Duterte administration’s campaign against crime, illegal drugs, and corruption, which he said is being portrayed wrongfully in the international community.
“If only there was a less political, more unbiased, and fair way of describing what is happening in the Philippines, we will be having a more constructive discussion rather than groups throwing alternative facts and fake news,” Cayetano said, stressing that the government’s main goal is actually to uphold the human dignity of every Filipino.
Cayetano then refuted critics’ claims that there had been a spate of extrajudicial killings (EJKs) in the country since the war on drugs started. He said that in the previous administration, there was a “low of 11,000 and a high of 16,000” cases of EJKs.
Further, he noted that the definition of EJKs he is using is the definition provided by Administrative Order No. 35 under the Aquino administration, which defines extrajudicial killings as “killings wherein the victim was a member of, or affiliated with an organization, to include political, environmental, agrarian, labor, or similar causes; or an advocate of above-named causes; or a media practitioner or person(s) apparently mistaken or identified to be so.”
“Suddenly, during the Duterte administration, all killings are extrajudicial killings,” he lamented.
Cayetano noted that of the 9,432 reported cases of murder and homicide during the Duterte administration, only 1,847 cases were considered drug-related.
Since the administration’s anti-drug war started,he said, there was a 408% increase in the police’s anti-illegal drug operations per day. Deaths under these legitimate operations were usually caused by suspects fighting back.
The senator also noted that for every 100 legitimate operations conducted by the PNP, only five were killed. The numbers , he said, were not as alarming as how critics were trying to portray.