Palace slams UN meddling in drug war

The Palace on Friday rejected the call for a United Nations inquiry into the country’s war on drugs, calling it an “interference with the country’s sovereignty” and an “affront” to intellect.

Palace slams UN meddling in drug war
MOTHER’S GRIEF. This file photo, taken on Oct. 3, 2017, shows Nanette Castillo grieving over the body of her son Aldrin, an alleged drug user killed by unidentified assailants in Manila. On Jan. 11, 2018, five narcotics suspects were slain, with police resuming a drug war that has drawn warnings that President Rodrigo Duterte may be overseeing a crime against humanity. AFP
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said the foreign countries that submitted a draft resolution asking the Human Rights Council to investigate the government’s anti-illegal drugs campaign have been misled by untruthful narratives.

“Even as we expect this latest demonization attempt against the President and this administration to fail, we ask some state-members of the UN to be more circumspect in evaluating reports concerning the domestic affairs of other countries in order that they may demonstrate respect to the latter’s sovereignty and independence,” Panelo said in a statement.

“Any attempt therefore by any foreign country to interfere with how this government maintains its peace and order, not only is an affront to their intellect but an interference with the country’s sovereignty as well,” he said.

Malacañang has defended the anti-drug campaign, saying that the deaths arising from it are “neither state-initiated nor sponsored.”

“These drug-related deaths are consequences of police operations when the subjects violently resist arrest that endanger the lives of the law enforcers who act on self-defense, which is sanctioned by law,” Panelo said.

He also noted that hundreds of policemen were killed during drug operations.

Panelo also claimed that members of drug syndicates also kill each other.

However, he said that the Philippines respects human rights, noting that the country has been elected to the UN Human Rights Council with 165 out of 192 votes at the UN General Assembly, which he said, bespeaks the growing appreciation of the international community of the country’s policies with respect to human rights.

“The Philippines has working mechanisms and domestic processes, including those adopted by our law enforcement sectors and inter-agency groups, to address this aspect in our bout against prohibited drugs,” he said. “We also have a robust judicial system which soundly operates.”

The Department of Justice on Friday said the government need not be told by anyone, including the United Nations, to sop extrajudicial executions because it is not state policy to allow the killing of drug suspects.

Nonetheless, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said the government is ready to face any inquiry, if it is necessary, into its war on drugs.

Guevarra issued the statement after more than two dozen countries formally called on Thursday for a UN investigation into thousands of killings in President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.

Reports said Iceland submitted the draft resolution backed by mainly European States, basically urging the Philippine government to prevent extrajudicial executions. It marks the first time that the Human Rights Council is being asked to address the issue.

The Duterte administration maintained that the more than 5,000 suspected drug dealers killed by police during the anti-narcotics operations have all put up a fight.

Activists belonging to the group iDefend claimed that at least 27,000 have been killed since Duterte was elected in 2016, and that Myka Ulpina, a three-year-old shot during a police operation last weekend, is among the latest victims.

The Geneva forum is expected to vote on the resolution before ending its three-week session on July 12. The Philippines is among its current 47 members.

Opposition Senator Francis Pangilinan expressed hope that the UN resolution would make the administration “finally see the light and realize that the daily killings” are not the solution to the drug menace.

Bayan Muna Party-list Rep. Carlos Zarate on Friday welcomed the call of several countries for the United Nations to investigate Duterte’s drug war.

“It is high time now that the Duterte administration heed the loud call, locally and internationally, for a thorough impartial investigation into the bloody drug campaign that kills thousands,” Zarate said.

Surigao del Sur Rep. Johnny Pimentel echoed Zarate’s view.

“As a member of the community of nations, the government cannot—and, should not—skirt forever the call for accountability and justice for the victims of this bloody campaign, particularly the poor,” Pimentel said.

But he added: “I think they should not meddle in our affairs. We are an independent country and we must govern our country ourselves. They have no business interfering in how we run our country.”

Magdalo Party-list Rep. Manuel Cabotchan said he expects the government to reject the UN resolution calling for the investigation, but said this would only bolster the perception that under the Duterte administration, “no proper and fair investigation is being done on the thousands of drug-related killings.”

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Topics: United Nations , war on drugs , Salvador Panelo , Human Rights Council , UN Human Rights Council
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