Let's all take a deep breath
THAT DOES IT - Korina Sanchez (The Freeman) - August 22, 2016 - 12:00am

"Come see for yourself." This is what Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo said when a UN official called on the government to stop extrajudicial killings.

They should come see for themselves the gravity of the situation, to apparently get a better understanding of the ongoing "war" against illegal drugs.

UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions Agnes Callamard apparently read that as an invitation, coming from a close cabinet member of this government, agreeing to visit the country and "see for herself."

But wait, the Palace then says that no one invited the UN to come over and investigate the rising number of extrajudicial killings. In fact, the UN is not welcome to do any kind of investigation on the war against drugs as it is a national affair. The supposed invitation by Panelo was unofficial.

Now, President Duterte himself has threatened to withdraw membership from the United Nations, calling it rude, breaching protocol, and even inutile in solving the many problems of the world. Obviously irked by the comments from several UN officials regarding the killings, this is his retort. He even wants all monetary contributions to the UN returned should the country withdraw. Duterte even brought up the possibility of forming a new organization with China and African nations. As far as I can remember, this would be a first in the country's history.

The Philippines was only one of four Asian countries who signed the UN Charter in October, 1945, making it a permanent member of the organization of nations. The four main purposes of the United Nations are the following - maintaining worldwide peace and security, developing relations among nations, fostering cooperation between nations in order to solve economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian international problems and providing a forum for bringing countries together to meet the UN's purposes and goals.

Part of those four purposes is the respect for human rights, which is what the UN officials are now bringing up. One cannot really gloss over the rising number of extrajudicial killings that occur on an almost daily basis. The rising number has caught the attention of the world. So I have to ask, does leaving the UN have any benefit at all to the country?

I think we all have to step back, take a deep breath, and collect our thoughts, while we still can. There is always a better, more diplomatic solution to issues such as this, without resorting to threats, invectives, and insults.

The Philippines is still and will always be a good member of the global community. I believe the citizens of this country would want it to remain that way.

korina_abs@yahoo.com.

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