"In the six years under (former President Benigno Aquino III), there were more than 90,000 operations against drugs. In only 10 months (under Duterte), there have been 50,000 operations, so naturally, the more operations, the more arrests — 60,000 people have been arrested," he added.
Political activists have said the bulk of deaths in the drug war were extra-judicial killings and concerns of police impunity are rampant. But Philippine officials reject those claims and have instead blamed other parties, including vigilantes and drug gangs. In an April report, Human Rights Watch said the 3,603 killings that police attribute to vigilantes and drug gangs were just a strategy to shield police from culpability.
Cayetano, Duterte's running mate in the 2016 presidential election, was only appointed to his new role on Monday and recently defended the president's administration to the United Nations Human Rights Council.
"May we invite you, the foreign media, to visit the Philippines. Do it with an open mind, and we will show you that the country is now becoming more peaceful and we will protect you and your businesses and your persons," Cayetano said.