Duterte gov't unfazed by 'threats' from EU, says Abella
MANILA, Philippines – The Duterte administration cannot afford to be distracted by "threats" from international organizations such as the European Union, which reiterated its concern over the Philippines' war on drugs, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said on Saturday, March 11.
European Union Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malström on Friday, March 10, raised concerns over the government's campaign against illegal drugs as well as the House of Representatives' approval of the bill on death penalty.
“Hindi naman pwedeng pabayaan ng gobyerno na ma-delay siya, madiskaril lalo na sa mga threats ‘no. Kasi parang threat ‘yan ng mga international communities sa atin eh ‘no katulad nung sa EU,” Abella said in a radio interview.
(We cannot let the government be delayed or distracted especially by these threats. It’s like a threat from international communities like EU.)
Abella said the EU doesn’t fully understand the gravity of the country's problems on corruption, crime, and illegal drugs.
“Pagpasok niya [President Rodrigo Duterte], kaya naman naging malalim dahil maraming mga tao na nasa position of power at saka authority na nakilahok sa krimen na ito, especially sa illegal drugs,” Abella said.
(The reason why this has become very serious is that many people in power and authority were part of these crimes, especially illegal drugs.)
He gave assurances that the government is following due process in dealing with drug cases.
“‘Yung ating lehislatibo at saka judiciary ay independent naman sila at saka… so kumbaga we’re working cooperation with them ‘no,” Abella said. (Our legislative and judiciary are independent. We're cooperating with them.)
With the recent passing of the death penalty bill in Congress, the Philippines risks losing its tarrif-free trade with the EU.
According to Akbyan Representative Tom Villarin, one of the EU's conditions for a tariff-free trade is the non-imposition of the death penalty. (READ: Villarin: PH to lose $12.8B in EU trade if death penalty returns)
This is not the first time that the Duterte administration was criticized for its war on drugs.
In 2016, the European Parliament urged the government to investigate the killings that have left at least 7,000 dead in the crackdown against illegal drugs. (READ: European Parliament urges PH: End wave of killings)
The Human Rights Watch said the Philippines needs intervention, because “there is no way, in its current form, that the Philippine government can fix this.”
The International Criminal Court in The Hague said it was also "closely following" the current situation in the Philippines. – Rappler.com