Malacañang on Tuesday dared Vice President Leni Robredo to present evidence that the Duterte administration is a “murderous regime.”
In his televised briefing, presidential spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque took exception of Robredo’s description of the deaths of nine activists during recent military operations in Calabarzon as a “massacre.”
“If the vice president personally witnessed what happened, she should present evidence because she speaks as if her two eyes witnessed the killings,” Roque said in vernacular.
“But if the vice president did not witness it personally like our president and other Filipinos, she should wait for the results of the investigation. This is an issue of fact,” he added.
The Palace official later mocked Robredo, saying she is “always wrong.”
“Whatever the conclusion of vice president Robredo would be, if she was not present there, as usual, the vice president is always wrong,” he said.
Robredo, an outspoken critic of Duterte, lamented the continuing killings in the Philippines amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
She criticized the series of military operations which led to killings of nine activists in Southern Tagalog and the arrests of six others on Sunday, which were condemned by human rights groups over purported violations.
“There is no other way to describe this: It was a massacre. And it came just two days after the President himself ordered state forces to ‘ignore human rights,’ kill communist rebels, and ‘finish them off,’ in his rant before the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict,” Robredo said through a statement, referring to President Rodrigo Duterte’s order to the police and the military on Friday to “ignore human rights” in going after insurgents.
The Department of Justice and the Commission on Human Rights launched separate probes on the deaths of nine activists while the police were serving search warrants.
The police have maintained that the activists resisted arrest and were armed, but relatives of those who were killed maintained that their slain loved ones did not.
Of the fatalities, six were recorded in Rizal, two in Batangas, and one in Cavite. Meanwhile, of the six people arrested, three were from Laguna and three were from Rizal.
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