Vice President Leni Robredo received a serious battering from the Palace due to her remark that the Duterte administration should welcome the call of United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteurs for a probe into alleged extrajudicial killings in the war on drugs.
“Those issues were specifically raised during the election campaign, and the electorate repudiated these overwhelmingly,” presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said.
Robredo in a radio program said the government should allow the United Nations Human Rights Council to investigate to disprove allegations of human rights violations.
“If it’s true if there are no human rights violations here, why would we oppose the investigation? Because it would be better, we show that we are not hiding anything instead of blocking it,” she said.
“How can you be asking for an investigation when you already concluded that this country has violated certain human rights and has killed many people? So what’s the use of investigating if you already have a conclusion, right?” Panelo said.
The Palace spokesman, who earlier described the independent probe as “interference” to the country’s sovereignty, said the UN experts were only going to repeat “false” allegations against the administration.
A group of 11 experts, including UN Special Rapporteurs Agnes Callamard and Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, has called for an independent probe on the Philippines following alleged human rights violations.
Panelo, who is also chief legal counsel of the President, slammed the call for an independent probe, noting that the UN experts’ basis comes from the opposition, critics and detractors of Mr. Duterte.
“They keep on repeating the same false narratives against this government,” Panelo said in a Palace briefing.
He added the false information was also specifically raised during the election campaign to tarnish Duterte’s reputation.
“These rapporteurs should realize by now that the issues raised are not true,” he added.
Panelo repeatedly defended the administration’s war on drugs, noting that it is “pursuant to the primary duty of the state to preserve and protect the people.”
He also stressed that law enforcement authorities operate on strict protocols and that police abuses relative to the war on drugs were placed under administrative sanction and criminal prosecution.
According to protocol
A top official of the Philippine National Police (PNP) stressed that all its law enforcement operations are guided by human rights protection in compliance with President Rodrigo Duterte’s directive.
At a forum on human rights-based policing, National Capital Region Police Office director Maj. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar stressed the “success” of every police operation is hinged on the promotion and respect of human rights.
In every operation, Eleazar said the police are always reminded to respect human rights in fulfilling the vision of Mr. Duterte.
“We have learned a lot during our operations. What we can say is that these operations must be done according to protocol and we saw in the campaign the value of human rights”, he added.
At the same time, he cited the ongoing internal cleansing program in the police force being pursued by PNP chief Gen. Oscar Albayalde as a complement to the all-out law enforcement operation being waged to fight crimes, particularly the proliferation of illegal drugs.
With Elmer N. Manuel