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

admin   •   June 25, 2018   •   2002

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

Duterte slams Iceland for abortion policy

Robie de Guzman   •   August 28, 2019

FILE PHOTO: A baby holds her father’s hand. Michaela Rehle / Reuters

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday slammed Iceland for allowing abortion to be legalized in the Nordic country.

Duterte condemned Iceland, which recently initiated a United Nations probe into the human rights situation in the Philippines for the alleged killings under its war on drugs, for allowing the “slaughter of the fetus inside the womb of the mother up to six months.”

“Do you know in Iceland they allow abortion up to six months? You have one more month and you have the principle of intra-uterine life that you give birth at six months the baby will survive,” the president said in a speech during the 31st anniversary of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program in Quezon City on Tuesday.

Abortion has been legal in Iceland since 1975. The law allowed the termination of a pregnancy up until the end of the 16th weeks.

But in May 2019, Iceland’s parliament passed a new law which allows abortion to be performed until the end of the 22nd week of pregnancy.

The new law also made the decision to terminate pregnancy available solely in the hands of the pregnant person.

Duterte said Iceland worries about the drug pushers in the Philippines but it allowed the slaughter of unborn children.

“Drug lords who are pushing drugs, killing our citizens and creating a social dysfunction in almost all tinamaan and there are about a million and six of them who are slaves to a drug called shabu,” he said.

“Hindi naiintindihan ng mga gag*** iyan… Palibhasa itong Iceland wala namang kain ‘yan e puro ice lang ang kain, wala namang tubig iyan e. Bobo ang mga put******** ‘yan…” he added.

Duterte said he supports family planning but will never allow abortion to be legalized in the country.

“Abortion is out of the question. I will not allow it,” he said.

The president previously expressed his ire against Iceland after it initiated a probe into the country’s alleged extrajudicial killings.

The United Nations Human Rights Council in July adopted a resolution calling for the conduct of a comprehensive review on the human rights situation in the Philippines amid Duterte’s campaign against illegal drugs.

The move prompted Duterte to seriously consider cutting ties with Iceland for its move that can be considered as interference in the country’s affairs.

Malacañang also slammed the ‘grotesquely one-sided’ resolution, calling it an insult to the majority of Filipinos who expressed satisfaction on Duterte’s governance. (RRD with details from Correspondent Aiko Miguel)

PH won’t withdraw from UN rights council – Locsin

Robie de Guzman   •   July 16, 2019

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.

PH mulls severing ties with Iceland, 17 other nations – Malacañang

Robie de Guzman   •   July 15, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines is mulling over the possibility of cutting ties with Iceland and 17 other nations that voted in favor of a resolution calling on the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to conduct a comprehensive review on the human rights situation in the Philippines amid President Rodrigo Duterte’s campaign against illegal drugs, Malacañang said Monday (July 15).

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said they will take a serious look into the country’s diplomatic relationship with other nations, adding that Iceland and other nations’ move can be considered as interference in the Philippines’ domestic affairs.

On July 11 (Thursday), 18 of the 47-member of the UNHRC voted to adopt the resolution filed by Iceland, tasking the UN Human Rights Office to prepare a comprehensive report on the Philippines’ human rights situation amid its ongoing anti-drug campaign.

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 told reporters in a press briefing.

(If a country is making declarations that are 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 calls for the Philippines to withdraw its membership from the UNHRC.

READ: Philippines eyes withdrawal from UN Human Rights Council

“In the ultimate analysis, he is the chief architect of foreign policy. Then, it’s the call of the President,” he said.

The palace official assured that they will also factor in every aspect, including the welfare of Filipinos living and working in the mentioned 18 countries, and circumstances that could lead to the cutting of ties.

The UN resolution asked the Philippine government to cooperate with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human rights, including preventing and refraining from all acts of intimidation of retaliations on human rights defenders.

The resolution also urged the Philippine government to take up measures against extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances, conduct impartial investigations of human rights violations and hold those involved accountable.

With the adoption of the Iceland-led resolution, UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet was tasked to prepare a report on the Philippines human rights situation by June 2020.

Although the Duterte administration does not consider the resolution a legally-binding document, Panelo said the government is willing to respond to the UN council’s formal questions or communication about Duterte’s war against illegal drugs.

“They have to believe what this government tells them, because this government does not lie,” Panelo said.

However, he stressed that the government will not oblige if the questions are designed to “embarrass” the Duterte administration. (with details from Rosalie Coz)

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