Relatives of Filipino drug war victims alarmed by Duterte’s comments on their continuation | World news


MANILA (Reuters) – Filipino activists and families of victims of a war on drugs that has claimed thousands of lives see with dismay the possibility of President Rodrigo Duterte remaining vice president for six more years after the end of his term next year.

The constitution bars a reelection bid for Duterte, 76, but he said on Tuesday he would run for vice president in 2022 -2-philippines- duterte-raises-suspicions-of-rivals-by-seeking-the-vice-presidency-in-2022 / ar-AANF4dE in order to continue his crusade against insurgency, criminal activity and traffickers drug.

“For four years we have been waiting for justice,” said Randy Delos Santos, who believes that if Duterte succeeds it would make justice even more difficult for families like his who have lost a limb to the drug campaign.

“For four years we have lived in fear,” added Delos Santos, who worries about the prospect of reprisals after the August 2017 assassination of his nephew, high school student Kian, which led to the first convictions of police officers in the war on drugs. .

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Since Duterte unleashed the drug crackdown in 2016, Philippine security forces say they have killed 6,165 suspected drug traffickers because they fought back, but human rights groups say authorities summarily executed them.

Three police officers convicted of murder in the murder said they shot Kian Delos Santos in self-defense and appealed to a higher court.

The death features in a report by the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), which seeks to launch a full investigation into murders linked to the war on drugs international-criminal-court-prosecutor-request-probe-in-philippines-murders-2021-06-14.

Duterte accused the ICC of prejudice against him, canceling the membership of the Philippines to the body in March 2018, just weeks after the prosecutor declared the preliminary examination had begun and later dared to judge him.

“I have never denied, and the ICC can record it: those who destroy my country, I will kill you,” he said in a state of the nation speech last month.

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, who belongs to Duterte’s ruling PDP-Laban party, said his post as vice president would ensure the continuation of government agendas, including the war on drugs.

The possibility that Duterte may remain in an executive post beyond 2022 shows that “national accountability mechanisms will not work to achieve justice,” said Cristina Palabay of human rights group Karapatan.

While Duterte is legally entitled to run for vice-president, this “violates the spirit of the law” which sets a term limit to prevent abuse of power, said law professor Antonio La Viña of the Ateneo de Manila University of the capital.

Duterte’s critics believe the prospect of losing immunity after his term ends makes him eager to run for vice-president as a shield against legal action.

“This is motivated by the fear of accountability, both of the ICC and of our own justice system,” said 1Sambayan, a group of opposition figures who include a staunch critic of Duterte, the former judge of Supreme Court Antonio Carpio.

Lawyer Kristina Conti, who represents the families of some of the victims, fears the killings will continue if Duterte remains in office.

Duterte spokesman Harry Roque said on Wednesday that the vice-presidential bid project had not been finalized and would not be continued if the president’s daughter Sara Duterte-Carpio, now mayor from the family’s southern stronghold, Davao City, seek the presidency.

“The president said if Mayor Sara Duterte were to run for president he would be absent, as would Senator Bong Go,” Roque told reporters, referring to Senator Christopher “Bong” Go, Duterte’s assistant and successor. selected.

Sara Duterte, who leads the senator in opinion polls, did not immediately answer questions about her plans for the race in 2022. She previously said she was not interested.

Justice Minister Menardo Guevarra urged people to stay true to the justice system.

“President Duterte has never said that law enforcement officers who have overstepped the bounds of the law in the performance of their duties will be unharmed,” he told Reuters.

“Our justice system, while not perfect with all the institutional challenges it faces, continues to function.”

(Reporting by Karen Lema; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

Copyright 2021 Thomson Reuters.


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