On Thursday, US deputy assistant secretary of state for Southeast Asia Patrick Murphy was quoted in several reports as saying the United States shared Manila’s objective of wiping out the illicit drug trade and wanted to help.
He added, however, that the US was also deeply concerned over the growing number of extrajudicial killings in the Philippines and talk that the fight to eliminate the drug scourge is taking placed “outside the rule of law”.
A Reuters report on Murphy’s remarks said police data issued this month showed nearly 9,000 people, most of them drug users and dealers, have met their end since President Rodrigo Duterte took office some 10 months ago.
Duterte, who won the presidency on an anti-drugs platform, has since coming to power remained steadfast in his pledge to rid his country’s streets of the drug menace.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. Source: Reuters/Erik De Castro
Responding to Murphy, Abella reportedly insisted that local authorities follow “operational protocols” when carrying out the government’s war on drugs.
“We share the concern of US Assistant Secretary of State for Southeast Asia Patrick Murphy, who has been quoted in the media saying that ‘there are elements of the drug war that are operating outside the rule of law’,” he said.
“Local authorities follow operational protocols and the proper enforcement of our laws requires the use of reasonable force merited by the attendant circumstances,” he added.
He also gave his assurance that those who acted outside their scope of power would face appropriate action.
“Those who breach procedures are made to answer before the law. The Philippine National Police has an Internal Affairs Service (IAS) tasked to probe police accused of such violations,” he said.