A group of American activists staged a mass protest against the alleged extrajudicial killings going on in the country amidst the crackdown on the country’s drug trade.
The rally was heldÂ in front of the Philippine Embassy in New York last Wednesday.
The group identified as the Voices of Communities of Activists and Leader (VOCAL) based in New York staged the peaceful rally bringing placards, one of which labeled the Philippine president as “murderer.”
The group called for justice on the extrajudicial killing victims.
Reacting to the staged rally, AgricultureÂ Secretary Manny PiÃ±ol challenged the critics of President Rodrigo Duterte to conduct aÂ surveyÂ to determine how ordinary people view his campaign against war on drugs.
“If you call President Duterte a mass murderer because over 1,000 drug suspects have been killed in the campaign against drugs, what would you call him for ordering his men to prepare aÂ programÂ which would rehabilitate almost 1,000 small-time drug dealers and users?,” PiÃ±ol said.
“Did we hear a squeak or even just a faint sigh when a seven-year-old girl was raped and killed by three drug-crazed men?”
“I am not saying that the killings are right but in the face of the scary reality on the extent of the drug menace in the country, what other options are left for policemen whose lives are also endangered?” he explained.
“Does this noisy critics count the number of policemen also killed in the anti-drug operations or the victims of drug crazed criminals.”
“So, some people want to criticize the bloody drug war?” he asked.
Secretary PiÃ±ol said that he traveled a lot for the past two months, so he could talk to people, especially farmers and fishermen in our country.
“Still, there’s a better way of determining whether President Duterte is right in his campaign and that is to conduct a nationwide survey.”
“I would dare say this early that judging by the reaction of people I have talked with, over 90% of the respondents would say they approve of President Duterte and his campaign to confront the evils of drugs.” PiÃ±ol said.
“Sorry, New Yorkers but your placards do not bother us.” he said.