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Roque to insist on ICC’s non-jurisdiction over PH anti-drug war

by UNTV   |   Posted on Wednesday, December 6th, 2017

MANILA, Philippines — Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque is set to attend the International Criminal Court (ICC) Assembly of State Parties in New York, USA on December 7, 2017.

He will have the chance to speak before the body of prosecutors and insist that the International Criminal Court (ICC) has no jurisdiction over the anti-drug war of the government because the courts in the Philippines are still able to investigate on complaints.

It can be recalled that some human rights groups such as the Amnesty International requested the ICC to conduct a preliminary examination of the drug-related killings in the Philippines.

Roque said that if the ICC will violate the principle of complementarity, there is a possibility for the Philippines to withdraw from the Rome Statute of ICC.

“Although the statement has not been finalized, my statement is we agreed to be a member of the ICC because of the principle of complementarity that the court will only exercise jurisdiction if our courts are unwilling or unable to exercise jurisdiction on any crime cognizable by the International Criminal Court. And to violate the principle of complementarity would be to violate the very basis of our consent to be bound by the Rome Statute. And if this will happen, then there may be a possibility that the Philippines, like the three other African states, may withdraw from the Rome Statute of the ICC,” said the presidential spokesperson. — UNTV News & Rescue


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Malacañang asserts government does not tolerate abusive, violent cops

by UNTV   |   Posted on Wednesday, November 29th, 2017

The newly-appointed Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque ( Cerilo Ebrano / Photoville International)

MANILA, Philippines — A special report by Reuters was released on Monday about a police operation in Tondo, Manila on October 11.

The operation was done a day after President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) to take the lead and be the sole agency in the anti-drug war of the government.

In the report entitled “Operation Kill”, CCTV footages show the operation of some alleged policemen driving away people along the alleys and in front of an eatery.

The footage also shows an alleged cop pointing a gun at a man who, after a while, collapses in front of the cop.

A cop is also seen blocking the security camera.

Meanwhile, in the last video, it shows that policemen are carrying the bodies of the three people killed in the said operation.

Malacañang cannot be certain if report as such hinders President Duterte from formally ordering the return of the Philippine National Police  (PNP) to the government’s anti-drug war.

“Until the President has not done it formally, the matter remains pending, and I appeal, let’s let the President decide in due time. I do not know if it will or will not have an impact but the president has not actually issue anything in writing. Let’s respect the status quo,” said Presidential Spokesperson Sec. Harry Roque.

Meanwhile, he once again asserted that the government does not tolerate abusive and violent policemen.

First among the steps authorities are taking regarding this is the authentication of the CCTV footages.

“I assure you that the authorities are now looking into this matter. We’re in the process also of authenticating the video. I assure you that the president will not tolerate any abuses that may be committed made by some personnel of the PNP,” said Roque. — Rosalie Coz | UNTV News and Rescue

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Government targets to pass the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law in March 2018

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Wednesday, November 29th, 2017


MANILA, Philippines – According to Presidential Spokesman Secretary Harry Roque, the said proposal is one of the priorities of the Duterte administration. However, Roque said, the palace cannot force Congress to conduct a special session before the year ends.

On Monday, President Rodrigo Duterte stated that he wants the Congress to conduct a special session to deliberate on the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).

“He didn’t say when he will actually call for the special session. He only emphasized that if need be, he will call Congress for a special session. He did not intend or did not limit the time frame this year or the remaining part of December. In fact, the Bangsamoro Bill is still at the committee level at the House. So we expect that we have time for Congress to discuss the BBL,” said Roque. –UNTV News & Rescue

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CJ Sereno urges lawyers to pressure the government in upholding human rights

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Friday, November 24th, 2017

Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno urges members of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines to defend human rights amidst increasingly glaring atmosphere of impunity in the country.

In her speech in the Pagtugon sa Hamon Summit, Thursday, Sereno also calls on lawyers to pressure the government in upholding human rights, pointing to extrajudicial killings that are happening in relation to the administration’s war on drugs.

She emphasizes that applying such pressure is part of lawyers’ duties.

The Chief Justice said it is high time that the culture of accountability be institutionalized in order to end impunity and human rights violations in the country.

“Pressure is important, pressure must be continually built up, in all fora, venues and information platforms, for all public officers to respect human rights, to not issue any statement that encourages a disregard for human rights and to investigate human rights violations…make your stand, make your stand in such a way that no one will doubt that your hearts are with the Filipino people,” Sereno said. – UNTV News & Rescue

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