U.S. Congress opens investigation July 20 on alleged Duterte rights abuses

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Senators Ben Cardin (left) and Marco Rubio, ranking members of the Foreign Relations Committee, have filed the bipartisan ‘Philippines Human Rights Accountability and Counternarcotics Act of 2017.’ Photo: RollCall.com

Senators Ben Cardin (left) and Marco Rubio, ranking members of the Foreign Relations Committee, have filed the bipartisan ‘Philippines Human Rights Accountability and Counternarcotics Act of 2017.’ Photo: RollCall.com


The U.S. Congress will open this week an investigation into alleged human rights abuses committed by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte in pursuit of his anti-drug campaign, according to the statement issued by the U.S. Filipinos for Good Governance, Inc.

The July 20th hearing will be held at the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission of the U.S. House of Representatives, a bipartisan body. It will discuss a bill seeking to restrict the export of certain defense articles by the U.S. to the Philippine National Police should the “extra-judicial killings” continue. The bill was filed by Maryland Senator Ben Cardin, a Democrat, and Republican Senator Marco Rubio of Florida.

“This legislation is clear in its support for the Filipino people…but also the consequences if Mr. Duterte’s actions continue,” said Cardin, a ranking member of the Foreign Relations Committee.

The proposed Cardin-Rubio bill, “Philippines Human Rights Accountability and Counternarcotics Act of 2017,” notes that “since the election of President Rodrigo Duterte in June of 2016 there has been a relentless campaign of violence against alleged drug offenders, where more than 7,000 people have been killed,” says the statement.

“President Duterte has unleashed a campaign of extrajudicial killings in his country that has horrified the international community. Mr. Duterte must handle criminal issues through the rule of law and allow drug addicts access to the public health services and treatment they deserve,” said Cardin.

Rubio, who is chairman of the Foreign Relations subcommittee on human rights and civilian security, said, “This is not the right way to conduct an anti-drug campaign, and our legislation reflects our sincere desire to work with the Philippines to support human rights, expose narcotics networks emanating from mainland China and other countries, and use a public health approach to responsibly counter the dangers that drugs pose to our societies.”

The congressional hearing appears to be reminiscent of the investigations against the dictatorship regime of Ferdinand Marcos in the 1970s to 1980s. Such effort, launched by U.S.-based activists Ninoy Aquino, Raul Manglapus, and Boni Gillego, among others, put pressure on the U.S. to withhold support for the Marcos government because of its dismal human rights record.

Ellecer Carlos (left) of the I-Defend PH coalition and retired U.S. Army chaplain Georgette Beltran of Maryland have come out in support of the Cardin-Rubio bill. Photo by Eric Lachica

Ellecer Carlos (left) of the I-Defend PH coalition and retired U.S. Army chaplain Georgette Beltran of Maryland have come out in support of the Cardin-Rubio bill. Photo by Eric Lachica

Expected to testify are Ellecer Carlos, spokesman of the In Defense of Human Rights and Dignity Movement Coalition of the Philippines, as well as representatives of Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.

Carlos, who recently completed a speaking tour in various U.S. cities is expected to present documentation of extrajudicial killings and testimonies of family members of the victims.

“We have 40 to 50 killings every day of the most impoverished, beaten down individuals in Philippine society. The Duterte administration should address the root causes of crime and drugs there,” Carlos said in a statement.

He also alleged Duterte and his followers are threatening his detractors. He and his coalition are campaigning for the passage of the Cardin-Rubio bill, which has seven co-sponsors.

According to the Cardin statement, the bill seeks to:

“Provide restrictions on certain defense items provided by the United States to the Philippine National Police, and provides a case-by-case waiver on the restrictions for the President.

“Authorizes $50 million to the Department of State and USAID to promote a public health approach to substance abuse and to support Filipino defenders of human rights, assist victims of human rights violations, respond to human rights emergencies, and promote and encourage the rule of law, including the support for nongovernmental organizations in the Philippines.

“Includes instructions for reports on:
• Foreign assistance to the Philippine National Police or entities associated with the Philippine National Police;
• Sources of narcotics and precursor chemicals to produce narcotics;
• United States military assistance, cooperation, and security assistance and arms transfers used by the Philippine National Police and its associated entities to commit gross violations of human rights or violate laws applicable to military or security assistance related to human rights; and
• Partner capacity building assistance to the Philippines to enhance maritime capabilities, respond to emerging threats, and maintain freedom of operations in international waters and airspace in the Asia-Pacific maritime domains, and to make recommendations for additional foreign military sales, foreign military financing, and international military education and training to be made available to the Philippines. — Cristina DC Pastor

Copyright © 2017 The FilAm

A pedicab driver was gunned down on police suspicion he was a drug pusher. Street killings are becoming common since Duterte became president in 2016.  Photo by Raffy Lerma/Inquirer.net.

A pedicab driver was gunned down on police suspicion he was a drug pusher. Street killings are becoming common since Duterte became president in 2016. Photo by Raffy Lerma/Inquirer.net.





3 Comments

  1. y not also interview the victims of human rights es. the victims of drug adictd and other related cases on crimes………….. do not be biased as we the filipino citizens support the president’s aim to eradicate drugs.

  2. This comment is being address to Senator Rubio. This Ellicer Carlos and Georgetta Beltan statements are all fake and they have no big ideas what the situation under President Duterte in the Philippines. They are alleged paid individuals by the previous administration of Noynoy Aquino wwho want to destroy the good image of the present administration. Philippines right now is really peaceful and there is no truth about 40 to 50 people are being killed everyday. The truth of the matter is President Duterte is receiving high rating on the way he is handling the Philippine governance. These two people are just dreaming what they are telling. They are trying to destroy the good image of the present administration. Why they did not say anything when their previous president Noynoy leave the SAF44 got killed without the mercy of the killers.Why they were just kept silent. That was are a real kiling of the Philippine soldiers under the nose of their previous president. Senator Rubio, please majority of the Asian Fil-Am are your fans and they do not endorse these crusade of this two Fake Filipinos. Please do not believe them. If you want the truth please come to the Philippines and observed and inquire from our majority people there. Good luck to you Senator and you have the suppport of the majority truthful Fil-Am here in USA but not on these two alleged paid fake crusaders against the President of the Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte.

  3. Lorraine wrote:

    Can we also go to your country and investigate your gargantuan crime against humanity, Americans? You see other country’s mistakes but go blind to your huge crimes. You’re HYPOCRITES unparalleled in the entire humanity’s history!

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