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President Duterte must “stop ignoring” the growing global concerns about the worsening human rights abuses under the government’s war on drugs.

Senator Leila de Lima made the call after the Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Amnesty International (AI) reported continuous human rights abuses in the country over the past three years.

“Since he became President in 2016, Mr. Duterte has consistently and arrogantly ignored damning reports, based on solid research and investigation, from HRW and AI,” De Lima said.

“He would brag about his participation on murder, rape and other crimes in his public speeches, but will also conveniently deny his involvement in encouraging extrajudicial killings and summary executions in his skewed public order policies,” she said.

The opposition senator has described the HRW and AI as “highly regarded human rights research and advocacy groups.”

“Instead of burying his head in the sand in face of the growing global uproar on the descent of humanity and accountability in the country, Duterte should face these reports head on instead of beating his chest in his public appearances,” she said.

“The walls of justice are closing in on you, Mr. President. Despite your numerous attempts to evade it, history has repeatedly proven that accountability is sure to come to those who abuse power for their personal gain,” De Lima added.

In its 2020 World Report, New York-based HRW claims that the Duterte administration continued its deadly drug war in 2019 “with new cases appearing in the media daily.” HRW cited local estimates that there are about 27,000 drug related killings in the Philippines.

She said that similarly, the AI Review of 2019 claimed that members of the police force have continued in apprehending drug suspects using “unsubstantiated ‘drug watch lists’” and justified killings in anti-drug operations when “poor and marginalized” victims allegedly violently resisted.

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