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CHR to continue probing rights violations even as many Pinoys support drug war

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) will continue to investigate alleged human rights violations committed in connection with the Duterte administration's war on drugs even with the continued support of many Filipinos for the anti-drug campaign.

CHR chairman Jose Luis Martin "Chito" Gascon made the remark on Monday following the release of a Social Weather Stations survey results showing that 78 percent of Filipinos are satisfied with the campaign against illegal drugs.

In an interview with reporters after the deliberation of the CHR's budget for 2019 at the House of Representatives, Gascon said the CHR is not concerned whether the drug war receives support from many Filipinos.

"Ang usapin ng rule of law, ang usapin ng human rights ay hindi usapin ng kung popular o hindi popular ang ganung programa. Ang kailangan nating tignan ay kung sang-ayon ba sa batas o hindi," he said.

"Kaya kami, patuloy naming imbestigahan ang lahat ng human rights violations kaugnay ng deaths resulting from the war on drugs pati iba pang human rights violations," he added.

Gascon pointed out that despite the popularity of the war on drugs, the government still has the responsibility to investigate cases of alleged human rights violations arising from such policy.

Deaths should still be investigated, Gascon said, while policemen who have killed suspected drug individuals over the "nanlaban" claim should still be charged.

"So it is no moment to us whether or not the administration's campaign has 78 percent support," he said.

"What we will continue to press is that all the actions of the government, including in the war on drugs, must be in accordance with the bill of rights and with international human rights standards and that's what we will hold the administration to account for," he added.

Malacañang on Sunday welcomed the results of the SWS survey.

"This is a testament that the drug war continues to enjoy the broad support of our people, notwithstanding the efforts of the detractors and critics of the Administration to politicize the issue or discredit the campaign’s success," presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in a statement.

"Filipinos aspire for a crime-free society which can be realized by stopping the spread of criminality and fighting the scourge of drugs," he added. — RSJ, GMA News