Philippine bill seeking presumption of guilt of drug suspects ‘alarming’ – Amnesty


Human rights group called on the Philippines’ House of Representatives to withdraw a bill amending the dangerous drugs law that they said would apply the presumption of guilt of drug suspects, in violation of the country’s constitution.

Amnesty International said the legislation is an “alarming knee-jerk reaction” to the shootout between the police and drug enforcement agents.

Butch Olano, Amnesty International section director said House Bill No. 7184, which was passed on third and final reading at the House on Tuesday, showed “a dangerous disregard for human rights guarantees under domestic and international law.”

“HB 7814 further encourages arbitrary arrest and detention of drug suspects and will likely facilitate the use of torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment,” Olano said.

“The lack of judicial supervision that the bill endorses would practically allow security forces to commit further human rights violations with increasing impunity,” he added.

Olano said the government’s war on drugs had evolved so that it “limits basic procedural guarantees and other legal remedies.”

Olano noted that the bill was passed only a week after the “misencounter” between members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) that left two police officers, two PDEA agents, and a PDEA informant dead.

“Given its implications, especially in the context where thousands upon thousands have already been killed in the ‘war on drugs’, this bill is an alarming knee-jerk reaction to the PNP-PDEA ‘misencounter’ that is more an issue of government intelligence-gathering and protocols than of the law,” he added.

Amnesty International also called on the Senate to “resolutely junk” any proposal that would violate basic human rights guaranteed in the Constitution and enshrined in the international human rights law and principles. (Source: