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Philippines senator tells UN reports of drug war killings are ‘alternative facts’

Ally of Rodrigo Duterte employs Trump-speak to deny that presidents plan has resulted in more than 7,000 being killed by death squads and vigilantes

There has been no new wave of killings prompted by the Philippines war on stimulants, and reports to the contrary are alternative facts ,~ ATAGEND an friend of President Rodrigo Duterte has told the UN Human Rights Council.

Duterte has received widespread condemnation in the west for failing to curtail the killings and address activists allegations of systematic, state-sponsored slaughters by police officers of drug users and marketers, which the authorities reject.

Senator Alan Peter Cayetano said there had been 11,000 to 16,000 slays per year under previous administrations. He articulated a change in the definitions contained in extrajudicial killings by the Philippine Commission on Human Right and other reviewers of Dutertes policies had misled the public.

There is no new wave of killings in the Philippines, simply a political tactic of changing explanations, Cayetano told a UN review in Geneva of the Philippines human rights record.

Make no mistake, any fatality or killing is one too much. Nonetheless, there is a deliberate attempt to include all homicides as EJKs[ extrajudicial killings] or slays related to the campaign against criminality and illegal drugs, and that these are state-sponsored, which is simply not true.

Since Duterte took office 10 months ago promising an unrelenting campaign to rid the Philippines of drugs, “theres been” 9,432 murder lawsuits, including 2,692 deaths per presumed legitimate law enforcement operations, Cayetano said.

Any such fatality was presumed legitimate under the law, but it was automatically analyse, and Duterte had a zero tolerance plan towards abuse of police strength, Cayetano said.

Epimaco Densing, assistant secretary of the department of the interior, told Reuters that 236 police officer had been suspended and is currently under investigation and about 17 had been dismissed from their jobs and jailed.

Philippine powers announce police have only killed in self-defence during anti-drugs activities. They say the thousands of mysterious slaughters of drug users are the work of vigilantes or competitive stimulants gangs.

That is rejected by human rights groups, who announce most of those slays followed the same pattern and allege they were carried out by police or hired assassins, while executings were often presented as police slays in self-defence.

The governments denial and deflection of criticism indicates it has no intention of complying with its international obligations, articulated John Fisher, Geneva director at Human Rights Watch.

The UN scrutiny is likely to add to pressure on Duterte. The powers strongly scorn allegations of wrongdoing.

Cayetano told the council public opinion had been swayed by alternative facts spread by reviewers of Duterte.

The police had arrested 64,917 stimulant personalities, Cayetano articulated. Arrested, your excellencies , not killed.

Chinas ambassador Ma Zhaoxu praised Dutertes administration on its remarkable achievements in protecting human rights and articulated Beijing substantiated his holistic campaign against drugs.

A US envoy at the Council called on the Philippines to respect international human rights laws and strengthen criminal justice.

The phrase alternative facts was coined by Kellyanne Conway, a senior aide-de-camp to Donald Trump.

Reuters contributed to this report

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