Philippines decries European Parliament’s ‘interference’ in its affairs

MANILA: The Philippines has denounced what it called interference in its internal affairs by the European Parliament, which urged the Southeast Asian country to end “extrajudicial killings” and halt plans to bring back the death penalty.
Philippine police have killed about 4,100 people since President Rodrigo Duterte took power in late June 2016 in what the authorities say were shootouts during anti-narcotics operations. Activists say many of the killings were executions, which police deny.
At least other 2,300 drug-related deaths have also occurred, at the hands of what police say are unknown assassins.
The European lawmakers, in a resolution on Thursday, condemned Philippine authorities for “trying to justify these murders with falsified evidence”, which Manila said was meddling and based on wrong information.
“The European Parliament has crossed a red line when it called for unwarranted actions against the Philippines,” Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said in a statement late on Thursday.
In the latest violence in the campaign against drugs, police announced the killing of 13 people and arrest of 46 in 49 anti-drug operations in Bulacan province, north of the capital Manila, in a span of 12 hours on Friday.
The European Parliament and its members have criticised the Philippines’ brutal anti-narcotics crackdown several times, infuriating Duterte, who has directed his frustration at the European Union, rather than its legislative branch.
The EU is an important source of development aid, commerce and investment for the Philippines.
European lawmakers also called on Manila to remove what they called human rights defenders from its list of people it considers “terrorists”, including Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, the UN special rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples. — Reuters