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

Marje Pelayo   •   July 12, 2019   •   1307

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

Lawmakers favor placing ex-warden Gerald Bantag as BuCor Chief

Marje Pelayo   •   September 18, 2019

Newly appointed Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) Director General Gerald Bantag

MANILA, Philippines – Newly appointed Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) Director General Gerald Bantag was personally handpicked by President Rodrigo Duterte to replace former chief Nicanor Faeldon.

Bantag is the former Regional Director of Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) MIMAROPA.

The President was vocal about his trust in the former jail warden to lead the controversy-laden agency.

This, despite the case he is facing in relation to the blast in Parañaque City Jail in 2016 where 10 inmates were killed.

Bantag was the jail warden on duty when the incident happened.

“Well, I think the case is in court. He’s facing homicide charges. I don’t think that he did it. If he did, then baka ma-convict siya (he could be convicted),” President Rodrigo Duterte said.

“But in the meantime, gusto ko siya kasi nagtatapon ng granada daw. Gusto ko ngang magkuha ng santo wala naman, ganun rin. Magkuha ng military, wala. Dito ka sa talagang may experience sa BJMP (In the meantime, I want him in because I heard, he launches grenade. I was looking for a saint but I couldn’t find anyone. I searched the military but none [qualified]. So (I) picked the one with experience in BJMP). That’s a bureau under the DILG and you — you take care of detention prisoners,” he added.

Senator Bong Go, meanwhile, clarified that it was not him who recommended Bantag even though the President mentioned that he was picking a “killer” as the next BuCor chief due to the mounting issues of illegal drugs inside the New Bilibid Prison (NBP).

“Killer pala siya? Personal choice po ni Presidente si Bantag. Kailangan na talagang linisin ang BuCor (Was he a killer? Bantag is the President’s personal choice. The BuCor needs some cleansing),” Go said.

For Senator Vicente Sotto III, the Court is yet to prove the homicide case against Bantag and so it is just right to place the likes of Bantag inside the BuCor to tame the inmates.

“Tignan natin kung kakayanin ng mga drug lord ngayon yan, matitigil ang kabulastugan ngayon doon (Let’s see if those drug lords can go against him. Their shenanigans will be over),” Sotto added.

Go also revealed that President Duterte offered the position to AFP Chief of Staff General Benjamin Madrigal Jr. and PNP Chief Oscar Albayalde but the two refused the offer. – MNP (with reports from Grace Casin)

Duterte on Faeldon: ‘I still believe in him’

Marje Pelayo   •   September 9, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte still believes in former Bureau of Correction (BuCor) Chief Nicanor Faeldon despite his dismissal order.

For one, President Duterte noted Faeldon’s action of informing the President about a warehouse that stored billions of pesos worth of cigarette with fake tax stamps when he was still head of the Bureau of Customs (BOC).

That incident prompted the manufacturer to pay the government P37-B in tax.

This is one reason why despite the controversy that hounded the BuCor including the irregularities in conducting the law on Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA), President Duterte’s trust in Faeldon remains.

“Faeldon is a decent man. I still believe in him. There was a time when a businessman owned three warehouses filled with cigarettes with fake stamps,” the President said last Friday (September 6) at the groundbreaking ceremony and time capsule laying for the Naga permanent housing project.

“It was Faeldon who told me about it,” he added.

Malacañang clarified that it was not due to corruption that Faeldon was fired from office but because of disobeying the President’s order.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo noted, however, that Faeldon is not yet cleared as the Office of the Ombudsman is set to begin its investigations.

The Palace Spokesman added that it is the President who will decide whether or not to reappoint Faeldon to a different government position. – MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)

Duterte on GCTA issue: ‘I suspect that corruption was present there’

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 4, 2019

President Rodrigo Duterte suspected that there might be corruption in the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) regarding the issue on the good conduct time allowance (GCTA) law.

“I suspect that corruption was present there [at the BuCor]. Ibig sabihin, baka iyong iba, baka binili (meaning, some might have offered bribe). That’s why it’s important that we rearrest and re-investigate,” he said during a press briefing on Wednesday (Sept 4).

Duterte called on the released heinous crime convicts to surrender for a recomputation of their GCTA.

“I will give you 15 days liberty provided you make yourself available anytime that you will be called for an investigation to have a recomputation, or if there is an investigation of corruption then you cooperate fully,” he added.

During the Senate hearing on Wednesday, Senate President Senator Vicente Sotto III said there is an intelligence report on a so-called “GCTA for sale” in BuCor.

“Marami raw pera ang umikot, milyones daw (There is a lot of money involved, millions) we have intelligence report. I already shared [it] with Sen. Lacson,” said Sotto.—AAC (with reports from Grace Casin)

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