Roque: Human rights groups may be ‘unwitting tools’ of drug lords

Pia Ranada
Roque: Human rights groups may be ‘unwitting tools’ of drug lords
Drug lords, says the presidential spokesman, 'can easily use their drug money to fund destabilization efforts against the government'

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang claimed human rights groups that have been vocal against the Duterte administration may be getting funding from drug lords.

In a statement on Monday, March 26, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said this may be one reason why criticism on the campaign against illegal drugs is persistent.

“The attacks against the President’s war on drugs have been vicious and nonstop. We therefore do not discount the possibility that some human rights groups have become unwitting tools of drug lords to hinder the strides made by the administration,” he said.

This claim comes after Malacañang pointed to international human rights groups like Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International as groups that likely supported the filing of the complaint against President Rodrigo Duterte before the International Criminal Court (ICC), a complaint the court is now assessing.

Roque said drug lords have all the resources to mount destabilization plots.

“To continue to do and thrive in the drug business, these drug lords can easily use their drug money to fund destabilization efforts against the government,” said the spokesman, who had once been a human rights lawyer himself. (READ: Harry Roque pirouettes for Duterte)

Duterte has had a rocky relationship with both local and international human rights groups since the start of his administration.

He has frequently derided them and even threatened that police would shoot human rights advocates.

Malacañang often claims to be a target of destabilization plots, citing rallies and reports on the Philippine Navy frigates deal as part of alleged efforts to bring down the government. – Rappler.com

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Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is a senior reporter for Rappler covering Philippine politics and environmental issues. For tips and story suggestions, email her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.