UNITED Nations special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings Agnes Callamard said Tuesday she received an invitation from the Philippines on Oct. 24 to investigate the spate of summary executions in the government’s war on drugs, almost a month after the letter was signed by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea.
Foreign Affairs spokesman Charles Jose could not explain why there was a month-long delay, directing reporters instead to Malacañang.
“Please address your question to the Palace,” Jose said in a text message.
“It was the executive secretary who prepared the invitation on the instruction of [President Rodrigo Duterte],” he added.
In an interview with an online news website, Callamard said she received the President’s invitation on Oct. 24, even though the letter had been signed on Sept. 26.
Callamard also said they did not get an explanation as to why the letter took a month to reach the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Geneva.
Currently, she said, the UN was in talks with the Philippine government about what the investigation would cover.
“We have now begun the process of negotiating the scope and guarantees for the mission to go ahead and deliver the best outcomes in keeping with the terms of my mandate,” she said.
The death toll in the government’s war on drugs has risen to above 4,000 since Duterte came to office in June.
Last month, Jose said both the UN rapporteurs and the government must agree on the parameters of the investigation.
“The guideline should be agreed to by both our government and the international organization on how they will conduct the investigation,” Jose added.
He said the government would need to approve where the investigators could go. It would also have to approve interviews with the families of victims of extrajudicial killings.
“They need to ask permission with the government first,” Jose said.