De Lima criticizes Duterte’s ‘sabotage’ drug war claims

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Senator Leila M. de Lima has chided President Duterte for claiming that the successive killings of teenagers are meant to sabotage the police’s anti-drug campaign as he even declared one of the victims as his relative.

De Lima, a known human rights defender, called to mind Philippine News Agency’s (PNA) recent website blunder to emphasize Duterte’s effort to “re-angle” story on brazen killings of young individuals in the country.

“Duterte is on the retreat. He has taken the cue from the PNA and has started re-angling the teen murders of his death squads as a sabotage of his war on drugs. As if his drug war was all compassionate, caring, peaceful, and harmonious, he is now blaming the murders he has ordered en masse on the opposition,” she said in a Dispatch from crame No. 155.

“Duterte did not expect the public relations backlash that the killings of the teenagers has produced. Now that public opinion is against the killings of these minors, like the PNA, he re-angles the murders he has sanctioned as sabotage,” she added.

On re-angling story, it can be recalled that PNA recently made headlines after instructions from editors, including “re-angle” orders, have been accidentally published online along with final versions of their news releases.

The successive deaths of teenagers – that of 17-year-old student Kian Loyd de los Santos, 19-year-old Carl Angelo Arnaiz and 14-year-old Reynaldo de Guzman allegedly in the hands of Caloocan City police – have sparked public outrage and turned the spotlight to the government’s murderous war on drugs.

Duterte reportedly argued that his critics intentionally executed the three teenagers to sabotage the administration’s drug war. He claimed Arnaiz is his relative to convince people he did not order police killings.

De Lima, a former justice secretary, maintained Duterte could not make a fool out of sensible people to expect them to believe his spin that his drug war is being sabotaged.

“Duterte of course is not fooling anyone, except his die-hard fanatics, the same fanatics who screamed for blood and the mass murder of drug addicts. They are all now saying that the murders they lusted after are being used by the opposition to give those same murders a bad name,” she said.

“Take that for a spin. Wrap your minds around it. Discombobulate your brains until it makes sense. But it won’t, because this is the logic of the sociopath, where empathy is not even an itch that the deranged President can feel,” she added.

The Senator from Bicol further said that even if it is true that Arnaiz is Duterte’s relative, it does not necessarily mean the President did not order his murder.

Under the Philippine law, children are protected from any forms of abuses and violence. Philippines ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), and the Congress has passed into law Republic Act No. 7610, “Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act”, and Republic Act No. 9344 or the “Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006.”

Since Duterte launched his all-out war on drugs last year, more than 12,000 people have been killed either through “legitimize” police operations or vigilante-style executions.

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