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

admin   •   June 25, 2018   •   2157

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

NCRPO chief prepared to let VP Leni join drug busts

Aileen Cerrudo   •   November 8, 2019

An agent of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency-National Capital Region (PDEA-NCR) searches the pockets of suspected illegal drugs pusher ‘Bong’ during a raid on a house in Barangay Ugong, Valenzuela City, northeast of Manila, Philippines 02 February 2018. Agents of the PDEA conducted the raid in search of an alleged pusher named ‘Bong’. The operation resulted in the arrest of the suspect and discovery of hidden packs of suspected methamphetamine hydrochloride, locally known as shabu, after a search in two houses in the area. EPA-EFE/ROLEX DELA PENA

The National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) Chief PBGen. Debold Sinas said he is prepared to let Vice President Leni Robredo join drug busts.

“Bakit hindi? Kapag available siya (Why not, if she is available) we will. But of course, she’s the vice president. Importante ang security niya (her security is important),” he said.

Sinas also said they are willing to abide by the instructions of Robredo as the co-chairman of the Inter-agency Committee on Illegal Drugs (ICAD).

During the ICAD meeting on Friday (November 8) Robredo said drug operations should be done in a manner that doesn’t result in senseless killings.

“Iyong sa akin kapag nagkakaroon kasi ng mga senseless killings nadi-diminish iyong mga pagod na binubuhos natin dito (For me when there are senseless killings, it diminishes the work we put in this campaign),” she said.

Sinas also does not want killings however, they cannot guarantee there will be zero casualties in the campaign against illegal drugs.

“Ayaw din namin ng patayan. Kapag kami rin ay tinutukan, una (We also do not want killings. But if a gun is pointed at us, first) we have to defend ourselves also,” Sinas said.

Sinas assures all operations against illegal drugs will still be respectful of human rights and will not violate any laws.—AAC (with reports from Lea Ylagan)

Hundreds killed in Brazil’s Amazon over land, resources in past decade – report

UNTV News   •   September 18, 2019

 A Human Rights Watch report on Tuesday (September 17) found that more than 300 people have been killed over the past decade in conflicts over the use of land and resources in the Amazon, many by organized criminal networks profiting from illegal deforestation.

Of those cases, only 14 were tried in court, the non-profit said the report was based on 170 interviews.

“This really shows the level of impunity,” Cesar Munoz, a senior investigator at Human Rights Watch told Reuters on the sidelines of an event in Sao Paulo to discuss the report.

About 60% of the Amazon rainforest, considered a crucial barrier against climate change, lies in Brazil. Destruction of the forest has surged this year, and the highest number of fires since 2010 has drawn worldwide condemnation of the policies of President Jair Bolsonaro, who advocates opening the Amazon to development.

Human Rights Watch traveled to several Brazilian states between 2017 and the first half of this year to research the report, which showed that almost half of the murders linked to deforestation took place in the Northern state of Para.

Bolsonaro has weakened Brazil’s environmental enforcement agency Ibama, cut its budget by 25% and restricted the ability of field agents to torch the equipment of those found committing environmental crimes, Reuters has reported.

(Production: Pablo Garcia)

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)

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