U.S. lawmakers probe Duterte's bloody drug war

DRUG WAR. Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission (TLHRC) of the US Congress conducts a hearing on July 20, 2017, about President Rodrigo Duterte's anti-drug campaign. Screen grab courtesy of TLHRC

DRUG WAR. Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission (TLHRC) of the US Congress conducts a hearing on July 20, 2017, about President Rodrigo Duterte's anti-drug campaign.

Screen grab courtesy of TLHRC

MANILA, Philippines – US lawmakers conducted a hearing on Thursday, July 20, about alleged abuses in Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.

The hearing was conducted by the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission of the US Congress, co-chaired by US Congressmen James McGovern and Randy Hultgren.

In his opening remarks, Hultgren pointed out that the Philippines "is a valuable ally of the United States and is the largest recipient of United States' assistance in East Asia." 

"For this reason, it is paramount that human rights violations are not an unintended consequence of the war on drugs," Hultgren said.

"Human rights are fundamental. Every person is born with dignity. As such, they should be afforded the protection and due process of the law," he added.

The hearing began at 10:00 am in Washington DC, or 10:00 pm Manila.

Hours before the hearing on Thursday, Malacañang urged US lawmakers to consider "all sides" of the issue. "Insinuations and hasty judgements have no place in due process," Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella said. 

The hearing comes after two US senators in May filed a bill restricting the export of certain weapons and equipment from the US to the Philippine National Police as a consequence of Duterte's anti-drug campaign. – Rappler.com

Paterno R. Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II is a senior reporter leading Rappler’s coverage of religion and foreign affairs. He finished MA Journalism in Ateneo and MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at pat.esmaquel@rappler.com.

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