Philippines slams Amnesty International for "demonizing" anti-drug agency

Source: Xinhua| 2017-10-14 19:09:16|Editor: Song Lifang
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MANILA, Oct. 14 (Xinhua) -- The Philippines slammed on Saturday the international human rights watchdog Amnesty International (AI) for "demonizing" the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), the sole agency that President Rodrigo Duterte designated in charge of the government's anti-illegal drug campaign.

Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said "(PDEA) is now being demonized" by the international human rights watchdog.

"While Amnesty International is known to be disparaging of the frontline role of the Philippine National Police (PNP) in the anti-illegal drug campaign, now it sees the relief of the agency as a mere public relations stunt," Abella said.

Abella said PDEA is now the "object of AI's, and similar groups' ire and vilification."

Nevertheless, Abella said the government will continue its drive to make the Philippines a "crime, corruption and illegal drug-free nation."

"We are hopeful that operations of (PDEA) will not be jeopardized by the interference of outside agencies that fail to appreciate our desire, not for a drug-tolerant, but the drug-free nation," Abella said.

Duterte this week signed an order designating PDEA as the sole agency in charge of the administration's war on drugs, excluding the police in the anti-narcotics campaign. Duterte's move came in the wake of criticisms that some policemen are abusive to members of the drug syndicates operating in the country.

James Gomez, AI's international director of Southeast Asian and the Pacific, said on Friday that Duterte's decision "is nothing but a short-term move in response to growing public outrage about the drug war's many victims, which are overwhelmingly poor, and include children."