Incoming National Security Adviser Clarita Carlos promised to emphasize individual human rights under the Marcos administration, as she reiterated that she was in favor of the International Criminal Court’s investigation into the alleged extrajudicial killings under President Rodrigo Duterte’s campaign against illegal drugs.
“Human rights are primary, as human security is the highest premium…What do you gain if your own welfare cannot be protected by the State?” Carlos said in the latest televised episode of “The MangahasInterviews.”
“So, the first protection is really the protection of the individual. That is what we’ll focus on, that’s our basic platform,” the former professor, appointed by President-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to be NSA, said.
Carlos said she is not straying from the military’s stance that the government would be hands-off on external factors related to human rights; instead, it should pay attention to it, she added.
“What I’m saying is a person’s security as an individual is closer to their hearts than anything else,” she stressed.
Carlos also reiterated her disapproval of labeling individuals as communists or red-tagging, calling the practice “unproductive.”
“When you have run out of arguments, you label. It’s not a productive thing and it’s antithetical to the presumption of innocence, right? Why are we doing things that are not productive? Let’s stop doing that,” she said.
“Does labeling help you? No. So don’t waste your time labeling. That’s what I mean. I’m sure I angered some people. Well, that’s their right but I also have the right to insist that labeling does not work,” the incoming security adviser added.
She added that the administration of incoming President Marcos Jr. would instead focus on addressing the root causes of insurgency—injustice and the lack of opportunity.
Meanwhile, Carlos said the ICC prosecutor’s office should proceed with its probe into the alleged EJKs under Duterte’s campaign against illegal drugs.
“I have been interviewed… 10,000 times about that and I’ve already declared so many, many, many times you will investigate those extrajudicial killings on the basis of which the ICC will investigate,” she said.
“Let them investigate. As a matter of fact, I said, ‘you invite them here. We have a team of scholars like us who can accompany them… Let’s not be minders. Give them the space to look for the data they need to search. Then, let them have their conclusions, whatever it is,” she added.
“You need to confront this issue directly, otherwise it will rankle,” Carlos said.
In September 2021, the ICC opened the investigation on the request of then-prosecutor Fatou Bensouda to probe crimes “allegedly committed on the territory of the Philippines between 1 November 2011 and 16 March 2019 in the context of the so-called war on drugs.”
But two months later, in November, the ICC suspended the probe on the request of the Philippine government as the Department of Justice conducts its own investigation of several cases.
Duterte has then insisted that he would only face a Philippine court and if he should be imprisoned for the killings, it should be in the country’s jails.
Malacañang also said it would be difficult for the ICC to “uncover the truth” as it insisted that the government will not cooperate in the investigation, owing to the country’s withdrawal from the Rome Statute, the treaty that established the ICC, in 2019.