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Palace insists Duterte bent on solving killings under his watch: Ang dami lang daldal ng iba!

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President Rodrigo Duterte is determined to resolve the drug-related deaths that have occurred under his watch even though the administration refuses to call them extrajudicial killings.

Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella on Tuesday (October 10) said the administration has been taking several steps to solve the killings, such as the dismissal of alleged “narco generals” former Police Director Joel Pagdilao and Police Chief Superintendent Edgardo Tinio.

He noted that members of the Caloocan City police force are being retrained, while 70 operatives of Police Regional Office, Central Luzon Regional Public Safety Battalion flew to Cagayan de Oro Tuesday to augment the police forces in Mindanao.

“In summary, we need to understand that these things are being addressed. Except that perhaps there’s a lot of noise on the outside and — auxiliary noise,” Abella said.

The Palace cited the administration’s efforts in solving drug-related deaths in response to the criticism made by some European parliamentarians about the government’s bloody drug war.

Earlier, the Human Rights Watch warned that the Philippines might lose its membership in the United Nations Human Rights Council over the drug-related killings.

Based on government data, some 3,800 people have been killed due to drug-related law enforcement operations since Duterte assumed office.

Despite the criticism from international watchdog groups, Abella maintained there is no instance of EJK under the administration because of the official definition contained in Administrative Order No. 35 issued in 2013.

Under AO 35, EJKs are defined as killings “wherein the victim was a member of or affiliated with an organization to include political, environmental, agrarian, labor, similar causes, or an advocate of above-named causes or the media practitioner or persons apparently mistaken or identified to be so.”