Palace chides UN rights chief over 'irresponsible' remarks on drug war

Alexis Romero - Philstar.com
Palace chides UN rights chief over 'irresponsible' remarks on drug war
Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo claimed UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet was "undisputedly" supplied with "false information" peddled by the critics of President Rodrigo Duterte.
Screengrab, Facebook / Presidential Communications, File

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang Thursday chided United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet for allegedly issuing "reckless" and "irresponsible" statements about the Philippines' war on illegal drugs. 

Bachelet has criticized the Philippines' anti-narcotics campaign during the 40th session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, saying it should not be considered a model by any country because of its "lack of respect for rule of law and international standards." 

She called on the Philippine government to adopt a public health approach on the problem and allow drug dependents to rebuild their lives.

READ: UN rights chief criticizes Duterte's drug war, calls for public health approach

Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo downplayed the report, saying it was based on false information.

"Undisputedly, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet has been supplied with the usual vintage and false information, peddled by the president’s critics and detractors," Panelo said in a statement. 

"The High Commissioner’s use of long-discredited sources obscure the demonstrable progress made by the Philippines in defending its citizens from the menace of drugs," he added. 

READ: Duterte hikes drug use figure after claims of 'successful' drug war

Panelo said Bachelet's claim that 27,000 people may have been killed in the drug war was "a grossly inflated number."

He also disputed the UN official's claim that only one case—that of slain teenager Kian de los Santos—has been subject to investigation and prosecution. 

Panelo said Bachelet forgot to include the case of Carl Arnaiz case where two policemen were dismissed from the service. He also claimed that the Philippines has already adopted a multi-pronged strategy of dealing with the drug menace.

"That statements of this sort prevail to this day should be viewed with alarm by all States concerned because it reflects the extent in which the UN has been taken advantage of as a sounding board by political interest groups. By this action, these groups have tainted the very integrity of the UN," Panelo said.  

The Philippines, as an active and steadfast advocate of human rights, will continue to stand for the vulnerable in our society and around the world. As we do so, we will vigorously defend ourselves and our people against these baseless attempts to undermine our efforts and continue to stand for truth and progress," he added.

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