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'There were abuses by certain elements in the government' Marcos on Duterte's drug war
'There were abuses by certain elements in the government' Marcos on Duterte's drug war
Nation
'There were abuses by certain elements in the government' Marcos on Duterte's drug war
by Mhillen Nicole Borja06 May 2023
Photo Courtesy: News.com.au/PCO/VOA News

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has acknowledged that the previous government's strategy of enforcing a crackdown on illegal drugs resulted in human rights abuses that drew negative attention to the Philippines.

At a forum in Washington D.C. on Friday, Marcos Jr. was asked about his administration's plans to address the human rights abuses that occurred during the term of his predecessor, Rodrigo Duterte.

He stated that the previous administration's focus on enforcement may have led to the 'abuse' of power by some government elements, causing concerns about the human rights situation in the country.

“I think most of the discussions that are critical of the human rights situation of the Philippines derive from the policy that we undertook to fight the drug war,” he said.

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“Perhaps, in my view, what happened in the previous administration was we focused very much on enforcement, and because of that, it could be said that there were abuses by certain elements in the government that have caused concerns from many quarters in about the human right situation of the Philippines,” he added.

The former president's controversial drug war was widely criticized both locally and internationally, drawing condemnation from various human rights organizations and the International Criminal Court.

In response to the ICC's appeal, ICC prosecutor Karim Khan rejected the Philippine government's claims that the anti-drug campaign's killings and related crimes were of "marginal gravity."

Marcos refused to pass judgment on the anti-illegal drug campaign of Duterte during a separate briefing with Philippine media, saying he lacked the authority to do so.

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However, he acknowledged that illegal drugs continue to be the source of criminality in the country and announced his administration's strategy of dismantling drug syndicates, rehabilitating drug dependents, and educating young people to prevent drug use.

“The syndicates have become wealthier, more influential… but instead of going after everyone, we have tried to identify the key areas that we have to attend to so we can see a demolition of activity of drug syndicates,” Marcos said.

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