MALACAÑANG yesterday insisted that relations between the Philippines and the United States remain strong despite the Washington’s “deep concern” over reports of extrajudicial killings in the country.
“We are open to the opinions and positions of certain governments, but we’d like to reiterate that the relationship between the US and the Philippines remains basically solid, and we have a good relationship,” Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella told Palace reporters yesterday.
On Thursday, the US Department of State reiterated its earlier statements that it has made its concerns known to the Philippine government, and that it believes in the rule of law and due process, as well as human rights.
The US believes that the US $32 million aid to the Philippines should support long-term security, and State Press Office Director Elizabeth Trudeau has urged President Rodrigo Duterte to ensure that the country’s law enforcement efforts comply with human rights obligations.
Earlier, Duterte said that human rights groups protesting the deaths of suspected drug users and peddlers must instead consider that the lives of law enforcers are also at risk due to illegal drug use.
“Is there anybody among you, human rights advocates who are counting the dead soldiers and policemen?” he said, and asked if they would choose the lives of alleged criminals over the safety of the public. EMontano