Cayetano: PH open to independent drug war probe

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Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano met with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson Wednesday.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 28) — The Foreign Affairs Secretary said the Philippines is open to independent probes on the Duterte administration's war on drugs.

In a bilateral meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson at the Department of State in Washington on Wednesday, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said the country welcomes investigators to assess the drug situation in the country, as well as the government efforts to eradicate it.

"We made it clear that we have nothing to hide and that we are ready to work with experts or observers as long as they are independent and fair," Cayetano said in a statement issued after the meeting.

Cayetano previously slammed United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions Agnes Callamard, who wanted to look into the drug situation in the Philippines. He claimed Callamard had already pre-judged the drug war.

"We would welcome experts if they can assure us they would not politicize the investigations because we want to make sure the outcome would be credible," Cayetano said.

The Foreign Affairs chief also clarified the Philippines has no policy allowing state-sponsored killings, especially of illegal drug suspects.

As of August, the Philippine National Police reported a total of 3,811 drug personalities have died in anti-drug operations. Human rights groups, however, claimed the number of deaths ranges from 7,000 to 13,000.

UN probing drug war

Callamard has repeatedly criticized the country's drug war, especially after the series of killings minors.

Read more: Callamard calls for probe on all 'unlawful' deaths following Kian slay

In May, Malacañang took offense to Callamard's Philippine visit for an academic conference on illegal drugs. Although not an official visit from the UN, the Palace claimed it violated protocols.

But other international groups have since taken notice of the Philippines, after an increase in the spate of alleged extrajudicial killings and reports of human rights violations during Duterte's term.

However, on September 24, Cayetano defended the Philippines' campaign against illegal drugs to the UN. He said it is a "necessary instrument" to protect and preserve human rights.

This, after the UN Human Rights Council adopted the country's human rights report on September 22, even if they rejected 154 of 257 recommendations from the UN body to improve the human rights situation.

During the meeting with Tillerson, Cayetano also expressed appreciation for the $2 million assistance Washington gave in support of drug campaign.

The assistance is for health initiatives and community-based interventions on drug use.