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Roque says intl media info on drug war, Bongbong cases misleading

UniTeam senatorial candidate Harry Roque has disputed the facts and figures cited by an international media outlet on the anti-drug war campaign, media killings, and alleged cases of Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos.

The former presidential spokesman has denied that all persons who died in the war on drugs since 2016 were victims of extrajudicial killings.

In a recent interview with the Al Jazeera news channel, Roque said: “Since international and local authorities are already investigating the matter, no one can make a ‘carte blanche’ conclusion that every case is related to human rights violations.”

Roque said that the International Criminal Court (ICC), apart from looking at the evidence of each case, is also determining whether Philippine courts are unwilling or unable to take cognizance of the matter.

He also said he has no personal knowledge of the alleged more than 20,000 people killed from anti-illegal drug police operations as claimed by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in 2020.

The latest data from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency disclosed that 6,235 persons during anti-drug operations between July 2106 to February 2022.

“I cannot comment on something that I do not have any personal knowledge of. We cannot determine whether the thousands who died in the anti-drug war are murder victims on a talk show. You do that in a court of law,” Roque said.

Roque said that President Duterte had enjoyed the highest net satisfaction rating ever in Philippine history. He said the Filipinos, in general, are still happy and satisfied with Duterte’s leadership.

In a 2019 Social Weather Station (SWS) survey, Duterte achieved a record high net satisfaction rating of +72 percent. In the December 2021 SWS survey, Duterte garnered a net satisfaction rating of +60 percent.

“This is understandable because he is the first to give us the Universal Health Care Law, free irrigation for farmers, and free college tuition,” Roque said.

“The Filipinos appreciate these programs. This explains why the President enjoys an unprecedented satisfaction rating.”

Meanwhile, Roque refuted the Upfront talk show host for alleging that former Senator Marcos was caught repeatedly trying to siphon away some of the billions that the late President Marcos reportedly amassed illegally.

“This is news to me,” Roque said. “Bongbong Marcos has never been found guilty of siphoning money. He was impleaded in a civil case as co-administrator of his father’s estate. But he has not been charged with violating any anti-graft or human rights law.”

Roque also clarified that Marcos was not convicted of tax evasion but failed to file tax returns covered by a special law.

He said that Marcos was the most qualified to be the next President because of the latter’s long years of experience as a local government executive.

“It is a political question that only the sovereign people can answer. So, let the Filipino people decide. After all, the people’s voice is the voice of God,” Roque said.

In response to the unsolved cases of killed journalists, Roque said President Duterte created the Presidential Task Force on Violations of Right to Life, Liberty, and Security of the Media Members in 2016.

“The Philippines has one of the freest presses in the world. Proof of this is that the President has not filed any single libel case against any journalist during his term,” he said.

“I have legally represented many journalists against libel charges. As far as I know, the journalists are doing their jobs well in the country,” he added.


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