President Duterte addresses a gathering to mark Government-Owned and Controlled Corporations Day at Malacañang the other day.
Government condemns UN rights review
Christina Mendez (The Philippine Star) - July 13, 2019 - 12:00am

Duterte: Iceland’s only problem is too much ice

MANILA, Philippines — The international community does not understand the illegal drug problem in the Philippines and should keep its hands off the way the government is addressing the scourge, President Duterte and other administration officials said yesterday.

 took a jab last night at Iceland for leading the filing of a resolution that was approved by the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), calling for a review of the human rights situation in the country. Speaking during the 28th anniversary of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) at Camp Aguinaldo, Duterte also told law enforcers at the forefront of his bloody war on drugs not to be fazed by a looming “review” of the drug killings. The review was approved by the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on Thursday upon the initiative of Iceland. 

“Anong problema ng Iceland? Ice lang (What’s Iceland’s problem? Just ice). That’s your problem, you have too much ice and there is no clear day or night there. So you can understand, there is no crime, there is no policeman,” he said.

Chief presidential legal counsel and spokesman Salvador Panelo said Malacañang is not cowed or weakened by the move of the UNHRC.

Panelo condemned the resolution, which calls on UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet to prepare the written report.

“The Palace objects to and condemns the resolution of Iceland, favored by 17 other countries during the 41st session of the (UNHRC), the same being based on false information and unverified facts and figures,” Panelo said yesterday.

He maintained that his administration’s campaign is aimed to save lives and families from the illegal drug scourge – something that he said people from developed countries such as Iceland would not understand.

“Itong mga gagong ito (These stupid people), they don’t understand the social, political problems of the Philippines,” he said.

But Duterte said he is ready to face the UN probers who would visit the Philippines to check the human rights situation here.

Duterte said he wants to question the human rights investigators on what is wrong if he wants the best for the Filipino nation and save them from the mayhem caused by illegal drugs.

“I’m asking human rights people. Is it wrong to say, ‘If you destroy my country I will kill you?’” he said.

Duterte also insinuated that the UN was misled by detained Sen. Leila de Lima over the drug situation in the country.

“They believe hook, line and sinker that De Lima is a political prisoner,” he said.

Duterte said he also recognizes the crucial role of the BJMP in the drug war.

“May you always uphold the shared responsibility of the rule of law,” he said. “I can only pray for the innocent, but the others, they may rot in hell for all time.”

Duterte expressed concern anew over drug syndicates penetrating all facets of the society, with 12,000 barangay captains and mayors allegedly in cahoots with them.

Addressing jail guards embroiled in cases, Duterte said he had their backs as long as they are doing their jobs properly, adding that he does not care if all criminals get killed while in jail.

Panelo said Malacañang questioned the propriety of the resolution as well as its validity.

Panelo slammed the resolution for being “grotesquely one-sided, outrageously narrow and maliciously partisan.”

“It reeks of nauseating politics completely devoid of respect for the sovereignty of our country, even as it is bereft of the gruesome realities of the drug menace in the country,” he said.

The Palace official also said the petition smacks of politicization designed to force the Philippines to be subservient to the group’s superiority.

Panelo maintained that the resolution was meant to embarrass the Philippines.

He reiterated that the Philippines, as a sovereign state, is “undeserving of any intrusion by any country, under whatever disguised lofty principle it advances.”      

“Any attempt to undermine our sovereignty will receive an uproarious rejection from our countrymen, it being a naked affront to their authority to run their domestic affairs they deem fit under the prevailing circumstances,” he said.

Humiliation

Taking his cue from Duterte, Panelo said any review by the UN body will not succeed, especially if it will weigh statements and affidavits deemed by the administration as politically motivated.

“President Duterte has already spoken. He will be reviewing the intent of the proposed investigation and will decide thereafter on whether to permit the same to proceed or not,” he said.

Panelo added that the government is sure that investigators will face humiliation once they are faced with a blank wall on the alleged extrajudicial killings.

Panelo said the resolution did not get a simple majority, noting that only 18 out of the 47 countries voted to affirm the resolution.

“The subject resolution not only was not unanimously adopted, but it didn’t even get a simple majority of the 47 countries. The voting is not decisive in its favor. Only 18 countries out of the 47 member-countries voted for the resolution,” he said.

According to Panelo, the other 17 countries of the resolution have been misled by Iceland, which in turn was led astray by the misinformation, published by media in the country and elsewhere. 

“The voting also shows the resolution did not get the unanimous approval of the member-countries, nor did it get the nod of 29 other countries. Fourteen members rejected outright the resolution, while 15 members did not lend their names to it,” he said.

Panelo said the administration remains unwavering and unstoppable in its continuing campaign to provide a safe environment for every Filipino.  

“The Chief Executive will be unyielding in his constitutional duty to serve the general welfare of the citizenry, protect the Filipino people from the peril spawned by illegal drugs and to fiercely preserve the republic from the enemies of the state,” Panelo said.

For his part, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said members of the Cabinet will leave it to Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. and Panelo to issue their comments on the issue.

Death toll

As this developed, Locsin said the death toll in the drug war should be established.

“First establish real death toll by body count; match police reports w/ forensic findings; victims surely not vaporized. We found remains of Communist purges; why not of alleged victims of EJK? We just can’t trust foreigners who don’t shower daily. It’s an Asian thing,” Locsin said on Twitter yesterday.

Locsin had warned that the UNHRC resolution “to insult the Philippines will have far reaching consequences.”

But he added that the adoption of the resolution has “no effect as such resolutions especially those passed by a tiny minority can and will be ignored.” 

“It was pushed with the arrogance that developing countries must not stand up to them even if we can and as we hereby do. There will be consequences,” Locsin said.

“The Philippines is affronted that it should be named with the very breath of these authors of atrocities, noting that they are the same ones so bold to condemn the Philippines,” he added.

Even with the adoption of the resolution, Locsin said Duterte has made a commitment and will “not be weakened by this ill-fated resolution.”

‘Chop my head off’

Saying he has nothing to hide, Sen. Ronald dela Rosa said yesterday he is willing to be decapitated if it is proven that there are state-sponsored extrajudicial killings in the government’s war on illegal drugs.

A visibly agitated Dela Rosa declared that he is willing to go to extreme lengths just to prove that there were no irregularities in the government’s anti-drug campaign.

“They insist that all the killings are state-sponsored,” he told reporters in Filipino on the sidelines of the PNP Drug Enforcement Group’s founding anniversary celebration at Camp Crame in Quezon City.

Dela Rosa was chief enforcer of President Duterte’s crackdown on illegal drugs before he won a seat in the Senate in the recent midterm elections. It was during his tenure that casualties in police operations increased, where the authorities claimed the suspects resisted.

He chided rights groups for saying at least 27,000 people were killed in Duterte’s drug war, contradicting records from the PNP that placed the in-police operations at 6,6000.

Stressing that he has not committed any wrongdoing, Dela Rosa said he is open to a probe by the UNHRC provided its investigators keep an open mind.

“I do not fear. They can investigate, whatever it is that they want to find out,” he said.

Meanwhile, PNP chief Gen. Oscar Albayalde said they are leaving it up to higher authorities on the decision whether to allow the UNHRC to conduct an investigation.

Albayalde maintained that the PNP is taking concrete steps to ensure that police officers toe the line when it comes to respecting human rights.

National Capital Region Police Office director Maj. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, for his part, said his office would be guided by instructions from higher authorities in dealing with the resolution of the UNHRC.

Despite the UNHRC resolution, Eleazar pointed out the NCRPO would continue conducting operations against criminality and illegal drugs in a bid to serve and protect the citizenry.

But the Philippines can do well in waging its war against illegal drugs without the interference of the UNHRC, Sen. Panfilo Lacson said yesterday.

He stressed that the country’s judicial and human rights agencies are fully functioning with the support of Congress. – With Emmanuel Tupas, Edith Regalado, Evelyn Macairan, Pia Lee-Brago, Non Alquitran, Paolo Romero

DRUG WAR HUMAN RIGHTS UNITED NATIONS
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