MALACAÑANG on Tuesday said that it will be initiating cases on its own against members of the Islamic State-inspired Maute terrorist group, since the Commission on Human Rights is doing nothing to give justice to the victims of atrocities committed by the jihadists.
Saying that they have “not heard any investigation conducted by the CHR on the atrocities committed by the Mautes,” Roque accused the constitutional body of “having other priorities” than investigating rights abuses.
“We will do this knowing that the CHR will not be any help in according victims of the Maute terrorist groups justice,” Duterte’s spokesman said in a Palace briefing.
Roque accused the CHR of being selective in the cases that they investigate.
“It is always atrocities allegedly committed by state agents. And their position has been consistent, the role is to document abuses of human rights committed by state agents, which is wrong, because international humanitarian law punishes everyone, even non-state actors,” he said.
“If you look at the case law of the international criminal court, majority of the accused are non-state actors,” he added.
Roque made these pronouncements in response to a speech by CHR Commissioner Roberto Eugenio Cadiz last Monday, who said a government official and lawyer was “making mockery of human rights and rule of law.”
“I’d like to challenge Commissioner Cadiz, name names. Who is the lawyer? And who are the lawyers assisting this main lawyer whom he says is mocking human rights and the rule of law?”
During his speech, Cadiz did not mention any names.
Responding to Roque’s threat, Cadiz said: “I view the challenge as a rhetorical one, because he knows very well who they are. Mr. Roque is a big disappointment to the Human Rights community and I do not blame him if he felt alluded to as one of them.”
On Tuesday, President Rodrigo Duterte said he does not believe allegations that some soldiers who fought Islamic State-inspired terrorists in Marawi City looted homes.
In a speech at the Army General Hospital in Taguig City, Duterte tagged the allegations against the soldiers as mere “intrigues.”
At the Supreme Court, magistrates began to hear oral arguments on petitions assailing the constitutionality of Philippine National Police’s anti-narcotics operations that have been marred by killings of thousands of drug suspects.
The justices quizzed lawyers of petitioners on what rights could be violated by a PNP policy that allows policemen to go house to house and ask drug suspects to surrender and also to conduct case build-up against those who refuse to allow them entry into households for inspection.
“When the police conduct case build-up just because you refuse entry, that violates the right to privacy because you may refuse entry, correct?” Carpio asked Jose Manuel Diokno of the Free Legal Assistance Group.
Diokno replied in affirmative, adding that apart from right to privacy, such a policy also violates the constitutional right against unreasonable search and seizure and right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty.
Diokno, law dean of De La Salle University College of Law, argued that every “citizen has a right to refuse entry if there is no search warrant” presented by police.
Associate Justice Marvic Leonen cited violations of the right against self-incrimination, right to custodial interrogation and right to domicile in the set-up of Oplan Tokhang.
Leonen observed that while a court-issued search warrant is not needed for police to knock on doors, it is the “right of the occupant not to open the door.”
“They cannot barge in because that is precisely the right to domicile,” the magistrate said.