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Roque: Appeals by foreign countries to probe drug-related killings not needed

by admin   |   Posted on Monday, June 25th, 2018

FILE PHOTO: Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque

There is no need for other countries to call on the Philippine government to look into drug-related killings because the administration is already doing the necessary investigations on these cases in the country.

This was according to Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque in response to the recent appeal issued by Iceland on behalf of other member states of the United Nations Human Rights Council urging the Philippines to halt the killings resulting from its war on drugs.

“We urge the government of the Philippines to take all necessary measures to bring killings associated with the campaign against illegal drugs to an end and to cooperate with the international community to investigate all related deaths and hold all accountable,” the statement said as delivered by Ambassador Harald Aspelund, Permanent Representative of Iceland.

The group also insisted on the Philippines’ compliance to the “United Nations system including the Human Rights Council and its special procedure mandate holders – without preconditions or limitations.”

It should be recalled that the Duterte administration has banned UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Killings Agnes Callamard from investigating its anti-drug war campaign due to the latter’s alleged bias against the President.

Roque reiterated that an appeal from foreign countries is not necessary as the Philippine government has a record of the campaign’s fatalities to determine if proper procedure was indeed observed during drug operations.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano was also dismayed by the statement made by Iceland and other signatory countries after he invited them to personally visit the Philippines and see for themselves the human rights situation in the country.

“We regret that Iceland and several other countries maintained their position despite our offer for them to visit the Philippines and objectively asses the human rights situation, especially at the community level,” he said.

Cayetano added that it seems these countries are not interested in “arriving at the truth and would rather rely on the misinformation being fed to them by parties that have politicized and weaponized human rights.” — Rosalie Coz

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De Lima grateful for support of 5 US senators

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Tuesday, April 9th, 2019

File photo: Senator Leila de Lima

Senator Leila de Lima is grateful for the support of five United States (US) senators who called on the Philippine government for her release.

“I am both humbled and thankful for their concerns not just for my plight but for the protection of human rights, democracy, rule of law and political freedom in the Philippines where the culture of fear and impunity reign,” she said in a statement.

In a resolution, US Senators Marco Rubio, Edward Markey, Richard Durbin, Marsha Blackburn, and Chris Coon condemned the arrests of human rights defenders and political leaders under the current administration.

They also considered De Lima as a prisoner of conscience saying she was imprisoned for her political beliefs.

The senators also called on the government to drop the charges against Rappler chief executive officer, Maria Ressa to ensure freedom of the press.

However, for Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Menardo Guevarra, the senators were given false information because both De Lima and Ressa were charged for violating Philippine laws.

“These five US senators have obviously been fed with wrong information. Sen De Lima and Maria Resa were charged with violation of Philippine laws, were given ample opportunity to present controverting evidence, and were found to be probably guilty of the crimes charged. They are now undergoing a fair trial in a court of law,” he said in a text message.

He also said that human rights and freedom of the press have nothing to do with their case because “they continue to relentlessly attack and badmouth the government to this very day.”

“The Philippine press is probably the freest in this part of the world,” he added.

Meanwhile, Malacañang told the senators to “mind your own business” and focus on the problems of their own country.

“I issued a statement on that. It’s an outrageous intrusion to our sovereignty. They have no business dictating on us on what are we going to do with suspected criminals in this country,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said.

De Lima said that instead of considering it as an intrusion, critics should understand that these US senators are only fighting for justice, human rights, and democracy.

“Instead of bewailing their alleged ‘meddling’, those who negatively reacted to the US Senators’ move should recognize that these foreign entities are simply advancing universal causes of justice, human rights and democracy,” she said.

De Lima is currently facing four charges in violation of Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 due to her alleged involvement in illegal drug trade.

Ressa, on the other hand, is currently facing libel charges and violation of the Anti-dummy Law.—Aileen Cerrudo (with reports from Mai Bermudez)

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PH drug war meant to protect human rights of innocent citizens — Malacañang

by admin   |   Posted on Monday, December 10th, 2018

(file photo)

In line with the 70th anniversary of the adoption of Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the Duterte administration reiterated anew that the government continues to honor human rights in the country.

Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea in a statement said the government remains relentless in its war against criminality, corruption, terrorism, rebellion and illegal drugs, in an effort to protect the human rights of law-abiding citizens.

He added that the Duterte administration is determined to improve the quality of life of Filipinos through the effective implementation of programs related to education, health management, food supply, housing, employment and other basic services. — UNTV News & Rescue

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‘Conviction is enough’ : Solons defend former first lady Imelda Marcos

by admin   |   Posted on Thursday, November 15th, 2018

FILE PHOTO: Philippines Former First Lady and Congresswoman Imelda Marcos waves to supporters as she takes part in the announcement of her son BongBong Marcos’ vice-presidential candidacy, in Manila Philippines October 10, 2015. REUTERS/Erik De Castro

MANILA, Philippines — Minority Leader Danilo Suarez shares the same sentiment with known human rights lawyer Atty. Rene Saguisag in his recent statement in connection with the conviction of Ilocos Norte 2nd District Rep. Imelda Marcos in 7 graft cases in Sandiganbayan.

Suarez is one of the congressmen who are against the arrest of Marcos.

“He [Atty. Rene Saguisag] said conviction is enough. It’s shameful enough that you are convicted already. He is somehow saying that there is no need to jail the former first lady. For me it’s … she is already 89 years old,” said Suarez.

According to Buhay party-list Rep Lito Atienza the age of congresswoman Marcos should be considered.

“If Sen. Enrile can be released on the basis of age and health then the former first lady is also an elderly person… she is 89 and she is not totally that healthy,” said Atienza.

But Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Carlos Zarate opposed.

“Go to the National Bilibid Prison there are a lot of senior citizens and political prisoners there. Their cases have not been resolved until now. One of them died already inside the jail,” said Zarate.

Meanwhile, the Sandiganbayan has deferred the issuance of a warrant of arrest against congresswoman Marcos.

This, after the Marcos camp filed a motion for leave of court to avail of possible remedies for the absence of Mrs. Marcos and her lawyer, Atty. Robert Sison, and further requested for a deferment of the issuance of a warrant.

The motion is set for hearing on Friday, November 16.

Zarate, expressed disappointment on the deferment of the issuance of the arrest warrant saying the victims of human rights violation under former President Ferdinand Marcos administration are waiting for this conviction for so long.

“We are calling to apply the law fairly we can see here that there are special treatment in the Marcos family,” said Zarate.

Congresswoman Marcos has not been attending any session in the House of Representatives since Monday. — Grace Casin | UNTV News & Rescue


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