Admin denies 'restriction, censorship' on UN probe in PH

THE Duterte administration is not imposing restriction or censorship on the United Nations' (UN) probe on the massive drug killings in the Philippines.

Speaking to reporters, Department of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Charles Jose clarified that the UN investigators, as well as other probers from international organizations, have to observe certain protocols and guidelines when they investigate alleged summary killings of drug personalities in the country.

"No, we're not [restricting or censoring the UN probe]. It is a product of a consultation. It is not a one-way street. There's a two-way discussion, consultation, and at the end, both sides have to agree to this terms of reference. That’s the established protocol," Jose said.

Jose issued the statement after Senator Leila de Lima questioned the government’s parameters for the visit of the UN special rapporteurs and other probers.

"I find it questionable the announced rule that it is the government that will decide the places to be visited and the persons to be interviewed by these probers," the senator said in a statement released last Sunday.

"What kind of investigation can we expect if the government is going to decide how the investigation is going to be conducted by UN rapporteur’s team? What is the sense of inviting independent probers if they are not going to be allowed freedom of movement and are going to be dictated upon on the extent of their visits and sources of information?"

Jose denied that there were efforts to control the UN probers and stressed that they should have an "equal agreement" with the Philippine government.

He said that the UN team can suggest places they want to visit or people they would like to talk to but it has to be subject to agreement.

"The concern of the government is the safety of the investigating team so we have to make sure that the places they will visit will be safe," Jose said.

Last week, Jose said the UN should follow protocols set by host countries because that is the process that needs to be followed.

He said as host country, the Philippine government may not allow UN rapporteurs and its investigating team to go to slum areas to talk to families of victims of extra-judicial killings because "the safety of the rapporteurs is part of the protocols to be considered." (Sunnex)
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