Palace says Aquino ‘partly to blame for failure to address media killings’

Published July 30, 2018, 2:12 PM

by Patrick Garcia

By Genalyn Kabiling

Former President Benigno Aquino III is partly to blame for the country’s culture of impunity after failing to do enough to address the media killings during his term, Malacañang said Monday.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque speaks during a press briefing at the New Executive Building in Malacanang, Friday. (CAMILLE ANTE / MANILA BULLETIN)
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque made the accusation after Aquino opposed President Duterte’s statement showing concern for human life over human rights.

“I wish he did more also in protecting human life because it was during his administration the UN (United Nations) also noticed that we were in breach of our obligation to right to life especially in the killings of journalists,” Roque said during a Palace news conference.

“As a former president, he shares partly in the blame for this culture of impunity,” he added.

Aquino recently took a swipe at Duterte’s controversial State of the Nation Address’ (SONA) statement about the drug war, saying human life and human rights are inseparable. The former leader insisted that everyone was entitled to basic human rights.

Duterte, in his SONA on July 23, declared that his drug war would be as relentless and chilling as the day it started. He maintained that his concern was human lives” despite criticisms on his war on illegal drugs.

“If you think that I can be dissuaded from continuing this fight because of demonstrations, your protests, which I by the way find misdirected, then you got it all wrong. Your concern is human rights, mine is human lives,” Duterte said.

Roque defended anew the President’s remarks, saying Duterte was actually protecting human rights by saving lives from illegal drugs.

“He’s pursuing the drug war because he values human lives. If the construction of many is that human life is the same, or forms part of human rights then so be it. That proves my point,” he said.

“The President is espousing, protecting, advancing human rights if you view human life as part of human rights. No argument there,” he added.