US Secretary of State bet refuses to call Philippines human rights violator


United States secretary of state nominee Rex Tillerson has refused to call the Philippines a human rights violator despite reports of alleged extrajudicial killings under President Duterte's war on drugs.

During his confirmation hearing last Wednesday, Senator Marco Rubio asked Tillerson whether the Duterte administration's aggressive campaign against illegal drugs was "conducive to human rights violations that we should be concerned about and condemning.

In response, Tillerson said he needs to get more facts on the issue before commenting.

“I'm not going to rely solely on what I read in the newspapers. I will go to facts on the ground. I’m sure there’s good, credible information available through our various government agencies,” he said.

Tillerson was also circumspect when asked if Duterte administration’s approach was the “right way” to conduct an anti-drug campaign, telling the US government needs to remember its "long standing friendship" with the Philippines when dealing with its current leader.

“They have been an ally and we need to ensure they stay an ally,” he said.

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