James Taylor cancels PH concert over alleged 'summary executions'

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Music legend James Taylor on Wednesday canceled his concert in the Philippines because of the alleged summary executions in the country.

The multiple Grammy-award winning artist was set to perform at the SM Mall of Asia Arena on February 25, 2017.

Taylor, in a statement posted on his website, said he is saddened to announce the cancellation of his performance.

"I don't think of my music as being particularly political but sometimes one is called upon to make a political stand," Taylor said.

The 68-year-old crooner said he lauds governments who act on the problem of drug addiction, but summary executions without due process are unacceptable.

"Recent reports from the Philippines of summary executions of suspected offenders without trial or judicial process are deeply concerning and unacceptable to anyone who loves the rule of law," he said.

The Philippine National Police's latest report on Wednesday shows 2,133 drug personalities killed in anti-drug operations conducted by police, since the government's war against illegal drugs began on July 1. President Rodrigo Duterte and the police have strongly denied that the killings are state-sanctioned.

Related: PNP Chief's apology for drug war deaths is not admission of murder

The cancellation was a personal decision of Taylor, said Renen de Guia, chief executive officer of Ovation Productions, the concert's promoter.

"We tried to save it, we tried to talk to him to reconsider," De Guia said.


Tickets will be refunded, Taylor said on his website, though De Guia added they are working with ticket distributor SMtickets.com concerning the refunds.

Taylor said his performances in Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, and New Zealand will push through.

Taylor is behind the 70s pop songs "You've Got A Friend," "Fire And Rain," and "How Sweet It Is."