Palace slams UN resolution as ‘grotesquely one-sided’ and ‘insulting’

Marje Pelayo   •   July 12, 2019   •   1626

MANILA, Philippines – The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) upheld a resolution seeking to launch an international investigation on the human rights situation in the country in relation to the Philippines’s war on drugs.

During the 44th session in Geneva on Thursday (July 11), the Council adopted Iceland’s resolution to probe the Philippine government’s campaign against illegal drugs with 18 of the 47-member human rights body voted in favor, 14 against and 15 abstentions.

This formally asked UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet “to prepare a comprehensive written report” on the human rights situation in the Philippines.

In response, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teddy Locsin through Ambassador Evan Garcia expressed the Philippines’ rejection of the Iceland-initiated resolution.

“The Philippines reject this resolution. It cannot in good conscience abide by it. We will not accept a politically partisan and one-sided resolution so detached from the truth on the ground,” the Philippine Permanent Representative to the UN reading Locsin’s statement.

Malacañang, meanwhile, said the adoption of the ‘grotesquely one-sided’ resolution is an insult to the majority of Filipinos who expressed satisfaction on the kind of “forceful and effective” governance of President Duterte.

“The overwhelming majority of the Filipino electorate, who mercilessly crushed the intellectual and nationalist pretensions of those who peddled the bogus news, untruthful accounts and vicious propaganda on the President’s campaign against illegal drugs, are grossly and thoroughly insulted by the resolution that echoes such falsities,” said Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo in a statement on Friday, July 12.

Panelo added that the resolution has no other purpose but “to embarrass the Philippines before the international community and the global audience.”

In its resolution Iceland “urges the government of the Philippines to take all necessary measures to prevent extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances, to carry out impartial investigations and to hold perpetrators accountable in accordance with international norms and standards including those on due process and the rule of law.”

But the Palace remained firm in its stand that it is still the President who will decide on whether to allow the United Nations to proceed with the investigation.

Panelo warned that should the probe proceed impartially, the result will only lead “to the humiliation of the investigators” as well as all the proponent countries since “there never have been – nor will there ever be – state-sponsored killings” in the country.

“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,” Panelo concluded.

HOW COUNTRIES VOTED?

Affirmative votes

  1. Argentina
  2. Australia
  3. Austria
  4. Bahamas
  5. Bulgaria
  6. Croatia
  7. Czech Republic
  8. Denmark
  9. Fiji
  10. Iceland
  11. Italy
  12. Mexico
  13. Peru
  14. Slovakia
  15. Spain
  16. Ukraine
  17. United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
  18. Uruguay

Negative votes

  1. Angola
  2. Bahrain
  3. Cameroon
  4. China
  5. Cuba
  6. Egypt
  7. Eritrea
  8. Hungary
  9. India
  10. Iraq
  11. Philippines
  12. Qatar
  13. Saudi Arabia
  14. Somalia

Abstain votes

  1. Afghanistan
  2. Bangladesh
  3. Brazil
  4. Burkina Faso
  5. Chile
  6. Democratic Republic of Congo
  7. Japan
  8. Nepal
  9. Nigeria
  10. Pakistan
  11. Rwanda
  12. Senegal
  13. South Africa
  14. Togo
  15. Tunisia

SONA 2020: Bills Duterte wants 18th Congress to support

Marje Pelayo   •   July 28, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday (July 27) fulfilled one of his most important tasks as head of the country despite the risks of the ongoing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

He opted to deliver his SONA personally at the Batasang Pambansa despite heavy rain and several reports of COVID-19 positive test results among some of the event’s supposed attendees.

The ceremony was obviously a deviation from the Congress’ decade-long tradition: no prior meet-up with the Senate and House leaders, no fancy welcoming rites, no live performers and no handshakes.

The President went straight to the plenary upon his arrival and after the opening numbers, he went on to deliver his report to the nation. 

His speech lasted for about an hour and 40 minutes.

During his SONA, President Duterte asked the Congress to pass significant legislation that he believes are necessary in helping his administration propel the country even amidst the ongoing challenges. 

One of which is the revival of death penalty for drug-related crimes.

“I reiterate the swift passage of reviving the death penalty by lethal injection for crimes specified under the Comprehensive Dangerous Acts of 2002,” he said in his speech stressing the dangers illegal drugs cause to an individual and families.

Likewise, he asked Congress to immediately enact the Bayanihan Two so that assistance to sectors most affected by the pandemic will be delivered right away and funds will be made available for the procurement of additional medical equipment that will augment the country’s healthcare system.

“I hope that we can get some or the same treatment of clarity, purpose and the fastness to support the passage of the Bayanihan [to Recover as One Act], which will supplement funds for recovery and response against the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.

Aside from these two priority bills, the President enumerated several legislation which he wants Congress to deliberate and pass soon. 

These include the passage of the:

  • Corporate Recovery And Tax Incentives For Enterprises (Create) Act
  • Financial Institutions Strategic Transfer Or Fist Act
  • Establishment of the Department Of Overseas Filipinos
  • National Land Use Act
  • Coconut Farmers and Industry Fund
  • Advanced Nursing Education Act

After his SONA, the President immediately left the Batasang Complex and went back to Malacañang. MNP (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Less drama at Duterte’s 5th SONA — Bernal

Marje Pelayo   •   July 25, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representatives (HOR) is working double-time to complete the last-minute preparations for the fifth State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Rodrigo Duterte. 

But unlike the fourth SONA, some major changes can be expected on that special day of the President, given that the country is experiencing a pandemic. 

Last year’s SONA was a deviation from previous SONAs based on its theme and cinematic treatment initiated by award-winning director Joyce Bernal who was personally picked by the President himself. 

But with the new normal forced by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, the plan is to use less camera work because only a few individuals may be allowed to enter the Batasang Pambansa.

Bernal said they have prepared a number of pre-recorded materials for the event which include the singing of the national anthem and some of the supporting materials for the President’s speech.

Also, the facility for the video conferencing of members of the Congress, agency heads and other government officials has already been set up.

Kapag meron kaming mga malalaking equipment na ganun kailangan ng tao so bawas tao talaga,” Bernal said. 

“Siguro iyong mga shots namin, dadaanin na lang sa bilis pero naka-planta na talaga kasi wala na rin yung lakad,” she added.

On Monday (July 27), the Batasan premises will undergo disinfection.

In adherence to strict health protocols, markings will be installed to guide the attendees in observing proper physical distance and body temperature of all persons coming in will be checked.

On Sunday, all persons authorized to physically attend the SONA will have to take the swab test just to ensure that they are COVID-19- free.

Security measures, as always, will be tight and no private media outlet will be allowed inside the venue. 

Expected highlights of Duterte’s fifth SONA will be the administration’s programs for the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic. MNP (with details from Rey Pelayo)

DILG reiterates: No mass gathering during 5th SONA

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 24, 2020

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has reiterated that mass gathering is still prohibited even during President Rodrigo Duterte’s 5th State of the Nation Address (SONA).

The reminder was issued following numerous requests made to the department from groups who want to conduct protest rallies during the President’s SONA on Monday (July 27).

In an advisory released by the DILG, the department reminded local government units (LGU) to prohibit mass gatherings, following the directive of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID).

Meanwhile, the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) said they will strictly monitor and will apprehend anyone who will violate the IATF policies during SONA.

“Base sa instruction and guidelines na kapag may mag-rally doon na bawal at lalo na kapag walang permit at goes beyond the authorized number, aarestuhin talaga sila, (Based on the instruction and guidelines, if a group stages a rally without a permit and goes beyond the authorized number, they will be apprehended),” according to NCRPO Director PMGen. Debold Sinas. AAC (with reports from Lea Ylagan)

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