Palace hits interference into Philippines' rights situation

OTHER nations have no right to meddle in the Philippines' domestic issues, Malacañang said Friday, July 5, as it slammed the call of over two dozen countries for the United Nations (UN) to investigate the supposed human rights violations under President Rodrigo Duterte's watch.

In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said UN member-states have apparently been "misled by false news and untruthful narratives" about Duterte's crackdown on illegal drugs.

He claimed that any attempt by any foreign country to intervene in the Duterte government's efforts to maintain peace and order in the Philippines is "not only an affront to their intellect but an interference with the country’s sovereignty as well."

"The President's ardent critics and detractors are once again having a field day by politicizing news reports saying that there would be a resolution coming from the United Nations (UN) which will call for an investigation on the extrajudicial deaths in the Philippines," Panelo said.

"Our response to such calls is unchanged. No government of any nation knows the actual and real state of our country’s domestic affairs better than this Government," he added.

More than two dozen countries have formally urged the UN to conduct investigation into thousands of killings recorded in Duterte's war on narcotics trade.

A draft resolution, submitted by Iceland and backed by mainly European states, asked UN High Commissioner on Human Rights Michelle Bachelet to come up with a "comprehensive" written report on the Philippines; human rights situation.

The draft resolution also urged the Philippines to "take all necessary measures to prevent extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances" and carry out "impartial investigations and to hold perpetrators accountable in accordance with international norms and standards including due process and the rule of law."

A total of 6,600 individuals linked to the illegal drug trade have been killed from the start of Duterte's drug war in July 2016 until May 2019, acoording to the data released by the Philippine National Police in June.

Panelo maintained that there was no need for a UN investigation on the high number of drug-related deaths, noting that the Philippines has "working mechanisms and domestic processes."

"The Philippines has working mechanisms and domestic processes, including those adopted by our law enforcement sectors and inter-agency groups, to address this aspect in our bout against prohibited drugs. We also have a robust judicial system which soundly operates,: he said.

The Palace official likewise insisted that the drug-related deaths are "neither state-initiated nor sponsored."

He said that the suspected drug personalities were killed either by responding police officers because of resistance or by a syndicate involved in illegal drugs.

"Violent encounters during police operations are not extraordinary since illegal drugs alter the psychological make up of those pushers and users hence the violent resistance. Almost a hundred policemen have died in the process of these police operations while seven hundred plus of them have been seriously injured," Panelo said.

"Another cause for these deaths is when those who surrendered rat on the members of the drug syndicate. Likewise, botched drug deals among syndicate members result into killing each other," he added.

He also lectured UN member-states that Filipinos, based on a 2018 survey, "feel safer" as the number of criminality in the country "declined to a remarkable law for indeed, a significant most number of our country's felonies are drug-related."

He also reiterated that the government would not tolerate any abuse committed by police officers, stressing that rogue cops "must face the corresponding punishment of their unlawful actions."

"This Administration respects human rights. The fact that the Philippines during the term of [Duterte] has been elected to the UN Human Rights Council with 165 out of 192 votes at the UN General Assembly bespeaks the growing appreciation of the international community on our policies with respect to human rights," Panelo said.

"Even as we expect this latest demonization attempt against the President and this Administration to fail, we ask some state-members of the UN to be more circumspect in evaluating reports concerning the domestic affairs of other countries in order that they may demonstrate respect to the latter’s sovereignty and independence," he added. (SunStar Philippines)


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