Malacañang assails ‘stubborn and incorrigible’ Amnesty International for peddling false news

Published July 10, 2019, 9:31 PM

by Martin Sadongdong & Antonio Colina

By Genalyn Kabiling 

The alleged death toll of 27,000 related to the war on drugs is “one big lie,” Malacañang said Wednesday as it blasted the “stubborn” and “incorrigible” Amnesty International for peddling false information.

Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo (OPS / MANILA BULLETIN)
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo

Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo has rejected the allegation made by the London-based rights group that the government has recorded such number of alleged extrajudicial killings related to the anti-drug crackdown.

“This is one big lie and part of the false advocacies widely peddled by the President’s critics and detractors, considering that those who have been neutralized in the anti-illegal drug campaign are less than a fifth of this bloated figure,” he said.

“A lie repeated a thousand times does not stamp it with truth,” he said.

He then blamed the opposition candidates who foisted the supposed lie about the war on drugs, saying they have been “mercilessly repudiated” by the electorate in the polls. “Their mask of righteousness has been ripped apart,” he said.

Panelo meantime challenged the Amnesty International to show proof of the alleged extrajudicial killings instead of peddling “bogus information” about the campaign against illegal drugs

“Amnesty International not only is stubborn but incorrigible as well, when it insists on pursuing and advancing a baseless and false narrative on the government’s war on drugs, specifically on the nature and number of deaths arising there from,” he said.

He said Amnesty International could “not parrot the bogus information it gets from the anti-Duterte forces and get away with it.”

“It cannot recklessly throw accusations without them showing credible proof of their authenticity,” he said.

He said the group must present “facts and figures” on the names of the alleged 27,000 deaths as well as circumstances surrounding those deaths. “Otherwise, their failure will only validate the grotesque falsity of their claim and lace it with condemnable malice,” he said.

The rights group earlier called on Panelo to do his homework by reading its report before making a response. The group has asked the United Nations human rights body to probe the alleged abuses in the Philippine government’s war on drugs. It alleged the Duterte government was carrying out “large-scale murdering enterprise” and must be investigated for alleged crimes against humanity

Panelo, however, assailed Amnesty International for allegedly politicizing the drug-related deaths “with utter disregard of the facts and circumstances.” He said Amnesty and some foreign groups have been misinformed by false news, untruthful accounts and propaganda about the President’s war on drugs.