“Outrageous interference”- Palace rejects call by UN rights experts for probe on alleged unlawful drug killings

(File photo) Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo holds a press briefing in Malacanang on Monday, April 8, 2019. (Photo grabbed from RTVM video/Courtesy RTVM)


(Eagle News) – Malacanang again rejected calls for a probe on alleged unlawful killings in the country by United Nations human rights experts, saying this was an “outrageous interference” on Philippine sovereignty.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said that the call for a probe by 11 allegedly independent UN experts was based on a “biased and false recital of facts.”

The 11 UN experts calling for a probe include Agnes Callamard, the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions at the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. They, however, are considered “independent” and do not speak for the United Nations.

(File photo) Agnes Callamard, the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings, speaks during a press conference in San Salvador on February 5, 2018. (Photo by MARVIN RECINOS / AFP)

“The latest call by 11 special rapporteurs of the United Nations for an international probe of the Philippines not only is intellectually challenged but an outrageous interference on Philippine sovereignty,” Panelo said in a statement.

He said that such intrusion by the alleged independent UN experts was “unpardonable.”

“The reasons foisted by them for the aforesaid investigation have been discredited and repudiated by the very nation they pretend to care about,” Panelo said.

He said that these UN experts could only “present general allegations culled from false information.”

-Panelo: UN experts peddling “biased false recital of facts”

The Palace spokesperson said that UN experts were “peddling a biased and absolutely false recital of facts, adulterated with malicious imputations against the constituted authorities”.

Panelo also accused these officials of using “the art of continuing miscommunication to clothe them with believability.”

“Lest these foreign propagandists, masquerading as human right protectors, forget, allegations are not proof,” he said.

“One or two of them have tried this tact using some gullible if not biased loyal and foreign media, sowing the seeds of negative force and perpetuating them,” he said apparently referring to Callamard’s previous efforts to push a probe on the drug killings under the Duterte administration.

The 11 independent human rights experts accused President Rodrigo Duterte of inciting violence against alleged drug pushers and others, aside from allegedly publicly intimidating activists and Supreme Court judges, and degrading women.

“We have recorded a staggering number of unlawful deaths and police killings in the context of the so-called war on drugs, as well as killings of human rights defenders,” the UN human rights experts said.

“The Government has shown no indication that they will step up to fulfill their obligation to conduct prompt and full investigations into these cases,” they said in their joint statement issued in Geneva.

The UN human rights experts urged the UN Human Rights Council to launch an independent inquiry into the alleged human rights violations under the Duterte administration.

The call came as the council, with 47 member states, opens a three-week session on June 24.

Presidential Spokesperson Panelo said that such calls by the UN human rights experts do not reflect the sentiments of the Filipino people who, he said, overwhelmingly gave their support to the administration with the win of its candidates in the recent midterm polls.

“Those who have spoken against the campaign on illegal drugs and human rights record of this president have been overwhelmingly rejected by the Filipino electorate,” he said.

In the May 13 midterm elections, administration-backed candidates won most of the seats in Congress. In the Philippine senate race for instance, not one from the opposition party’s “Otso Diretso” candidates managed to win a seat.