Erring persons to be held accountable in drug war 'review', Duterte tells UN

Published September 22, 2021, 3:08 PM

by Ellson Quismorio

President Duterte has vowed before the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) to make accountable individuals who “acted beyond bounds” in operations connected to the Philippine government’s war on illegal drugs.

President Rodrigo Duterte delivers his speech before the UNGA on Wednesday, Sept 22, 2021 (Screenshot from Facebook live)

“The Filipino people want to live in peace and security in their homes and communities – free from harm and danger from the lawless. But achieving this goal has not been without challenges,” Duterte said Wednesday morning, Sept. 22 during the High-Level General Debate of the 76th Session of the UNGA.

“I say this in no uncertain terms: The law applies to all. I have instructed the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) to review the conduct of our campaign against illegal drugs,” the Philippine leader said.

“Those found to have acted beyond bounds during operations shall be made accountable before our laws,” he noted.

Duterte’s aggressive anti-drug drive has grabbed multiple headlines both locally and abroad over the years–first, for the alleged thousands of deaths that it has caused among drug suspects; and second, for the filing of related complaints against the President before International Criminal Court (ICC).

Earlier this month, the ICC said it has green-lit the formal investigation of Duterte’s bloody anti-drug campaign for alleged crimes against humanity. The ICC is a UN-backed body.

Duterte futher said in his message that the Philippines recently finalized its joint program on human rights with the UN.

“This is a model for constructive engagement between a sovereign member-state and the United Nations.

“Meaningful change, to be enduring, must come from within. The imposition of one’s will over another – no matter how noble the intent – has never worked in the past. And it never will in the future,” said the Chief Executive.