Palace slams United States ‘toxic intrusion’

April 28, 2019
Salvador Panelo

PRESIDENTIAL spokesperson Salvador Panelo yesterday took to task the San Francisco Board of Supervisors after it issued a resolution condemning the Philippine government over several issues, calling the move toxic intrusion.

“The resolution is a toxic and unacceptable intrusion into our legal processes and an outrageous interference with our country’s sovereignty,” Panelo said in a statement.

Through a resolution authored by Congresswoman Jackie Speier, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors condemned the Philippine government for alleged “state-sanctioned extrajudicial killings by police,” and the detention of Senator Leila de Lima.

“Like some US Senators, the San Francisco Supervisors have either developed an amnesia or have not outgrown their colonial mentality. They should be shaken from their stupor and wake up to the fact that the Philippines had long ceased to be a colony of the United States and will never be a vassal to it,” Panelo said.

He also said that he was perplexed that the San Francisco Board of Supervisors believed the false narratives and bogus statistics given to them, he said, by biased news agencies, anti-Duterte trolls and biased labor and environmental activists in San Francisco and Richmond.

Panelo said that the cases of government critics Senators De Lima, Antonio Trillanes IV and Rappler CEO Maria Ressa are being tried before local courts which work independently.

“They have been afforded their rights to due process. Their criminal prosecution is anchored on their transgressions of our laws and it has absolutely nothing to do with their being critical of the administration,” Panelo said.

The Presidential spokesperson said that other harsher critics of the government do not face any criminal complaint because they have not violated any law “but just exercising their freedom of speech.”

Panelo also denied the San Francisco Board of Supervisors’ claim that the killings in the country are state-initiated or sponsored, highlighting the dismissal and prosecution of police officers involved in killings.

“Failing in convincing the majority of the Filipinos of their peddled falsities against the President, the few vociferous anti-Duterte personalities turn to foreign politicians or international human rights groups vulnerable to misinformation and gullible to untruthful narrations against this administration who then either unwittingly lend hand to -- or ignorantly parrot -- the detractors’ pretended patriotism and politically motivated advocacy,” Panelo said.

The Ateneo Policy Center has recorded more than 7,000 drug-related killings since the Duterte administration began until the end of 2018.

Independent from government figures, the academics’ database now has information on 7,029 killings occurring from May 10, 2016 up to December 31, 2018, said Jenna Atun, a researcher with the Ateneo School of Government, at a Friday forum.

The Philippine National Police however on Saturday expressed “serious doubts” about the figures.

“It is totally erroneous to record more than 7,000 homicide deaths, with all sorts of possible motives including family feuds, quarrels, land disputes, accidents, stray bullets, road rage, etc., directly as drug related incidents,” PNP spokesman Police Colonel Bernard Banac told GMA News Online.

Banac cited “Real Number Ph” figures showing only 5,281 deaths recorded in the government’s anti-drug operations for the period July 1, 2016 to February 28, 2019.