PH won’t withdraw from UN rights council – Locsin

Robie de Guzman   •   July 16, 2019   •   880

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines will not withdraw from the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) despite its adoption of a resolution seeking to review the human rights situation in the country amid President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said Tuesday.

Locsin wrote on his Twitter account that the UNHRC vote was a “a small and harmless matter,” and the Philippines is “not severing diplomatic relations with any country.”

“We’re staying in UNHRC as a pedagogical duty to teach Europeans moral manners. We’re NOT severing diplomatic relations with any country. If we did, where’s the conversation? How do you insult those who insulted us if you cut them off?” he said.

Locsin earlier hinted at the Philippines’ possible withdrawal from the U.N. body following the adoption of a resolution led by Iceland. Eighteen countries voted for the resolution, 14 rejected it and 15 abstained.

“No embassy in Iceland. Nor does Iceland have an embassy here. Iceland took the place of the US after it withdrew from the Human Rights Council. I think we need to follow America more,” he said.

READ: Philippine eyes withdrawal from UN Human Rights Council

Malacañang has earlier expressed support for Locsin’s remark on severing diplomatic relations with Iceland, saying the Nordic island nation’s move which was supported by 17 other countries can be viewed as interference in the Philippines’ domestic affairs.

READ: PH mulls severing ties with Iceland, 17 other nations

Among the countries that voted in favor of the resolution are Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Fiji, Italy, Iceland, Mexico, Peru, Slovakia, Spain, Ukraine, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and Uruguay.

“’Pag ang isang bansa ay nagpapahayag ng mga posisyon na makakasira sa ating kasarinlan o sovereignty ay kailangang talagang putulin natin ang relasyon natin sa kanila kung wala silang gagawin kundi siraan tayo ng siraan sa mga kalakaran na di naman batay sa tunay na pangyayari dito sa ating bayan,” Panelo said.

(If a country is making declarations that are an affront to our independence or sovereignty, if they continue to do or say negative things that are not based on facts or occurrences in our country, then we need to sever our ties with them.)

However, Panelo said that Duterte will have the final say on the matter, as well as on a proposal for the Philippines to withdraw its membership from the UNHRC.

60% of Filipinos say PH gov’t should allow UN probe on drug slays – SWS

Robie de Guzman   •   July 23, 2019

(file photo)

MANILA, Philippines – Sixty percent of Filipinos believe that the Philippine government should not block the investigation into the killings related to President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs, a survey conducted by the Social Weather Stations (SWS) revealed on Monday (July 22).

The survey, conducted from Jun 22 to 26, showed that 26 percent of the 1,200 respondents strongly agree with the statement that, “the government should not block the investigation of international groups, like the United Nations, into the killing by the Philippine police of so many drug suspects who supposedly fought back.”

Thirty-four percent somewhat agreed to the statement; 15 percent disagreed, while 25 percent were undecided.

The SWS said the net agreements in both rural and urban areas, at +46 and +44 respectively, were classified as “very strong.”

The SWS said the net agreement is equal to the percentages of those who agreed minus those who disagreed.

It classifies a score of +50 and above as “extremely strong, and +30 to +49 as “very strong”.

Mindanao recorded an “extremely strong” +50 net agreement, followed by very strong net scores in Balance Luzon at +45, Metro Manila at +43, and the Visayas at +42, the agency said.

The pollster further said the net agreement was highest in class D or the “masa” at +46, followed by class E at +45, and class ABC at +37. It was also very strong among both women and men, at +47 and +44, respectively.

By age group, net agreement on the statement was highest among 35 to 44-year olds and 18 to 24-year olds, at extremely strong levels of +52 and +50, respectively, the SWS said.

This was followed by very strong scores among 25 to 34-year olds at +48; 55-year olds and above at +45, and 45 to 54-year olds at +31.

The SWS said the June 2019 Social Weather Survey has sampling error margins of ±3 percent for national percentages, and ±6 percent each for Metro Manila, Balance Luzon, the Visayas, and Mindanao.

The survey follows reports earlier this month about the move of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to adopt a resolution led by Iceland seeking a comprehensive report on the human rights situation in the Philippines amid Duterte’s campaign against illegal drugs.

Malacañang earlier 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 Duterte.

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

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin also rejected the Iceland-led resolution and warned of “far-reaching consequences” for nations who supported the resolution.

Iceland, on the other hand, expressed hope that the Philippines will cooperate with the U.N. investigation.

CJ Bersamin on UNHRC reso: Other countries cannot intervene in PH affairs

Marje Pelayo   •   July 19, 2019

UNHRC Hall | Courtesy: United Nations Facebook page

MANILA, Philippines – Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin called the United Nation Human Rights Council’s (UNHRC) adoption of a resolution to probe human rights situation in the country as ‘minority’ since only 18 countries voted for it.

Though his statement was brief, Bersamin said other countries have no reason to intervene with Philippine affairs especially its policies.

“Mukhang tama nga naman sina Secretary Panelo dahil minority resolution lang iyan. But you know, I am a member of the Judiciary and kailangan ipilit kong sabihin sa ngayon wala naman kami nakikitang dapat lamang na manghimasok ang taga ibang bansa,” the Chief Justice said in support of Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo’s position on the matter.

(It seems Sec. Panelo was right because that’s only a minority resolution. But you know I am a member of the Judiciary and for now, I am compelled to speak. So far, I see no reason for other countries to meddle in our affairs.)

“Other than that, hindi na ko magsasalita (I won’t say anything more). I cannot be the architect of our foreign affairs,” he added.

The Palace previously called the resolution an insult to the Filipinos.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), however, clarified that the Philippines will not cut its ties with any member of the human rights body. — with reports from Mai Bermudez

Palace not keen on Robredo impeachment talk

Robie de Guzman   •   July 15, 2019

Vice President Leni Robredo | Courtesy : OVP

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang on Monday distanced itself from the impeachment threat against Vice President Leni Robredo over her remarks supporting a United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) resolution seeking to review the human rights situation in the country.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said it will leave it to the courts to decide whether Robredo should be impeached.

“You know, we have better things to do. There are so many problems in this country. I will leave it to those who would want to initiate whatever they want to initiate against whomsoever,” Panelo told reporters in a Palace press briefing.

The Palace official made the statement after Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) Commissioner Manuelito Luna threatened to file an impeachment rap against Robredo for backing the resolution seeking to probe the killings under President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.

“Vice President Robredo’s expression of support to the UNHRC against the Philippine government may cause her to be impeached,” Luna said in a statement.

“For the nth time, she has made it appear that the government is guilty of human rights abuses, and that’s betrayal of public trust,” he added.

Luna, however, clarified his statement was just a warning.

When asked if Robredo’s expression of support for the UN resolution can be used to impeach her, Panelo replied: “If gross ignorance is the ground for impeachment, is that a ground under the Constitution? But I will let the advocate pursue that line.”

“There are many legal opinions as there are lawyers, impeachment court will be the ultimate decider of that legal issue,” he added. (with details from Rosalie Coz)

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