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DFA calls European Parliament reso on rights issues an attempt to influence elections

Gaea Katreena Cabico - Philstar.com
DFA calls European Parliament reso on rights issues an attempt to influence elections
Photo shows the Department of Foreign Affairs main building along Roxas Boulevard in Pasay City.
Released / DFA. file

MANILA, Philippines (Updated 4:08 p.m.) — The Department of Foreign Affairs condemned the European Parliament for adopting another resolution on human rights abuses in the Philippines, calling it an attempt to interfere in the country’s electoral process.

In a statement Sunday, DFA said the allegations raised in the text are "unfair, largely baseless" as it dismissed the resolution as another intrusion in the country’s internal affairs. 

"We condemn the misguided attempt of the European Parliament to interfere in the Philippine electoral process through its resolution raising already discredited allegations of human rights violations in the thin hope of heavily influencing the outcome in favor of its choice," it said.

Last week, the European Parliament issued a resolution calling on the Philippines to immediately end violence against suspected drug offenders and to stop labeling activists and journalists as supporters of communist rebels. It also warned of the temporary withdrawal of trade benefits if calls remain unheeded.

The parliament adopted the text with 627 votes in favor, 26 against and 31 abstentions.

UN joint program for human rights

DFA claimed without basis the calls of European lawmakers were prompted by "supporters of libelous journalists and bitter critics of the current administration because they miserably lost the previous election."

"The resolution is based on a deliberately falsified impression of the actual human rights situation in the country. The resolution is presumptuous given the historical record of its main proponents," it said, adding the United Nations Joint Program for Human Rights have already addressed such allegations, including extrajudicial killings of activists and trade unionists and deaths from the government’s bloody "war on drugs."

Signed last July, the joint program is meant as capacity-building assistance to and technical cooperation with Philippine authorities in several areas, including strengthening domestic investigation and accountability mechanisms, data gathering on alleged violations by the police and implementing a human rights-based approaches to drug control.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said then that the program "manifests the sincere efforts of the Philippine Government to infuse its law enforcement and investigative operations with a human rights dimension in a non-political setting." A Department of Justice review of "drug war" cases has led to charges against some police officers.

In a separate statement, Malacañang said there is an existing dialogue mechanism with the European Union.

“We have expressed in numerous occasions our willingness to work and cooperate with the EU in order to shed light on the concerns they have raised,” Malacañang said.

“The actions taken by the government in this regard are a clear demonstration of our compliance with conventions on human rights, labor, and good governance, among others,” it added.

GSP+ monitoring mission

DFA also called out European Parliament Vice President Heidi Hautala who said the winner in the May polls "will have a major task to reverse a dire human rights situation which has seen an appalling deterioration under President Duterte."

"For the Parliament to pass a resolution of this manner is a clear attempt to influence the outcome of our coming elections in May instead of accepting the sovereign will of the Filipino people as manifested in the previous elections," DFA said.

The European Parliament issued similar texts in 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2020.

Nevertheless, the department said it is looking forward to the European Union’s Generalised Scheme of Preferences monitoring mission from Feb. 28 to March 4, noting the views of European lawmakers do not reflect those of the EU as a whole or of its individual member states.

DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS

EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT

HUMAN RIGHTS

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