SC chief justice says no reason for foreign countries to interfere in PHL internal affairs


(Eagle News) — Supreme Court Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin said there is no need for foreign interference in the country’s internal affairs, including the judicial determination of alleged human rights abuses in the Philippine government’s drug war.

In a chance interview with reporters on Friday (July19), Bersamin said that on the issue of the Iceland resolution being approved by 18 countries of the 47-member United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), this seemed like a “minority resolution.”

He said that he was only basing his comment on what Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo had said.

“Batay doon sa palitan nila Secretary (Salvador) Panelo saka ‘yung mga naglabas niyan, mukhang tama nga naman sila Secretary Panelo dahil minority resolution lang ‘yan,” Bersamin said.

But he said as a member of the Philippine judiciary, he should insist there is no reason for other countries to interfere with the country’s internal affairs.

“You know, I am a member of the judiciary and kailangan ipilit kong sabihin sa ngayon wala naman kami nakikitang dapat lamang na manghimasok ‘yung taga-ibang bansa,” the Supreme Court chief justice said.

“Other than that, hindi na ‘ko magsasalita. I cannot be the architect of our foreign affairs,” he added.

Bersamin said he did not want comment when first asked by reporters if the UNHCR resolution was an affront to the country’s jusicial system. He said he did not have enough information on the resolution.

Malacanang had earlier questioned the propriety and validity of the UNHRC resolution calling for a comprehensive written report on the Philippine government’s drug war.

Only 18 countries voted for the resolution authored and pushed by Iceland, while 14 countries of the 47-member council voted against it on July 11. Fifteen member nations, on the other hand, abstained from voting.

“We question the propriety of the resolution as well as its validity. The subject resolution not only was not unanimously adopted, but it didn’t even get a simple majority of the 47 countries. The voting is not decisive in its favor,” Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said on July 12, a day after the UNHCR voted on the Iceland resolution on the Duterte drug war.

“This means that majority of the members are not really convinced of the resolution calling for the investigation of the so-called extrajudicial killings in our country,” he said.

The Philippine department of justice likewise stressed that the judicial system is working in accordance with law with respect to dealing with the cases related to the anti-illegal drug campaign.

“With all due respect, our government need not be told by anyone, including the UN or any of its agencies to stop so-called ‘extrajudicial executions’ in our war on drugs because it has never been the policy of the government to tolerate the killing of illegal drug suspects who submit themselves peacefully to our law enforcement authorities,” said Justice secretary Menardo Guevarra on July 5, when Iceland first pushed the draft resolution before the UNHRC.