UN human rights chief urges probe on Duterte’s killing claims
admin • December 21, 2016 • 2811
President Rodrigo Duterte.
President Rodrigo Duterte’s recent admission that he had killed criminals earned different reactions not just in the Philippines, but even in the international community.
It allegedly happened when he was still mayor of Davao City during legitimate police operations.
“In Davao I used to do it personally. Just to show to the guys [police] that if I can do it why can’t you,” Duterte told business leaders during his speech at the presidential palace.
“And I’d go around in Davao with a motorcycle, with a big bike around, and I would just patrol the streets, looking for trouble also. I was really looking for a confrontation so I could kill.”
“It was really a legit encounter, covered by media. The media of Davao was aware that really this was happening,” added the President.
However, in a statement, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said, the President’s acts were violations, not just of the Philippine laws, but also international law.
The official added this may encourage others to do violent acts.
Consequently the U.N. official urged judicial authorities in the Philippines to conduct an investigation in relation to the chief executive’s statement.
Al Hussein has signified support to U.N. Special rapporteur on Extrajudicial Executions Agnes Callamard.
According to Callamard, the government should withdraw all its conditions on her Philippine visit to conduct investigations into the alleged extrajudicial killings.
President Duterte had previously earned criticisms over the increasing number of killings in the country amid the government’s war on drugs. — Mirasol Abogadil | UNTV News and Rescue
The local government of Davao City has lauded the conviction of seven individuals involved in the bombing of Roxas Night Market in 2016, saying “it underscores the delivery of justice to the victims.”
“[The verdict] underscores the delivery of justice for the fatalities of the bomb attack, the survivors, their loved ones, the entire City of Davao and all the Dabawenyos who endured the impact of the said terror attack,” acting Mayor Sebastian Duterte said in a statement on Tuesday.
Duterte issued the statement after the Taguig City Regional Trial Court Branch 266 on Monday convicted Tj Tagabaya Macabalang, Wendel Apostol Facturan, Musali Urbano Mustapha, Jessy Vincent Guinto Original, Zack Haron Lopez, Jackson Mangulamas Usi, and Ausa Abdullah Mamasapano for the complex crime of multiple murder and attempted multiple murder.
The decision was handed down by Taguig City RTC Judge Marivic Vitor.
The accused were sentenced to life imprisonment and ordered to pay the heirs of each 15 deceased victims the amounts of P 100,000 as civil indemnity, P 100,000 moral damages, P 100,000 exemplary damages, and P 50,000 temperate damages. They are also directed to compensate the 69 injured victims the amount of P 50,000 as civil indemnity, P 50,000 moral damages, and P 50 exemplary damages.
The Roxas night market bombing incident occurred on September 2, 2016. The blast claimed the lives of 15 people and injured 69 others.
But despite these developments, Duterte expressed dismay over the court’s decision to acquit the seven from the crime of terrorism in the absence of a stronger law for such act.
He said the accused could have been convicted of the crime of terrorism if only the Philippines has a good anti-terror law.
The law amending the Human Security Act of 2007 – the controversial Anti-Terrorism Law – was only passed this year.
“Although the perpetrators were convicted as murderers, they would have been convicted as terrorists as well – if only the Philippines has a good anti-terror law,” he said.
“If only the Philippines has a good anti-terror law, the kind of justice for the victims of that terror attack would have been even more meaningful not only to their families but also to the peace-loving Dabawenyos who want to ensure that their future is free from the threats of terrorism,” he added.
The vice mayor added that the court’s decision underlines the urgency to enforce strong laws against people and groups espousing terrorism. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Marisol Montaño)
MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang has allayed public fear of a possible ban on social media giant Facebook following President Rodrigo Duterte’s remarks on Tuesday night (September 29) expressing his disappointment over the platform’s policy.
“You cannot lay down a policy for my government. I allow you to operate here. You cannot bar or prevent me from espousing the objectives of the government,” Duterte said.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the President wants to have a talk with Facebook to clarify issues regarding its censorship policy against pages that support the government.
“Number 1 po kasi tayo sa buong mundo sa Pilipinas so kung wala tayo, malaking kawalan yan sa Facebook [The Philippines is the number 1 user in the world. It’s a big loss to Facebook],” Roque said.
“Pero at the same time, dahil nga number 1 tayo, marami ring Pilipino ang gumagamit ng Facebook. Maapektuhan din. So sinabi naman ng president, pag-usapan iyan [But at the same time since we are number 1, many Filipinos are using Facebook. It will affect us. So the President wants a discussion about it],” he added.
Among the accounts that have been taken down is the advocacy group Hands Off Our Children, a page which aims to protect minors from recruitment by extremists who entice youths to become combatants and fight the government.
Meanwhile, Malacañang has again questioned Facebook’s choice of fact-checkers— online news platforms Rappler and Vera Files— who are critical of the present administration.
Roque said the government is now contemplating on commissioning fact-checkers of social media platforms in the country similar to what other countries are doing.
“Pag-aaralan po natin kung dapat gawin natin iyan dahil di po tayo makakapayag na ang fact-checkers ay tanging mga laban lamang sa gobyerno [We will take that into consideration because that has to be done. We cannot allow that fact-checkers are only those who are all against the government],” Roque concluded. MNP (with reports from Rosalie Coz)
MANILA, Phillippines – Senator Panfilo Lacson on Tuesday said that President Rodrigo Duterte should just implement the anti-graft laws to all violators instead of resigning if he wants to end corruption in the government.
“Instead of resigning, the President only needs to be consistent in applying the anti-graft and corruption laws to both friends and foes,” Lacson said in a statement.
Lacson issued the statement after Duterte said he has offered to step down from office out of frustration over the rampant corruption in the country.
“Ewan ko kung sabihin ko ito sa inyo. I offered to resign as president. Pinatawag ko yung lahat, sabi ko, ‘Kasi nagsasawa na ako. In my years of government […] talagang wala na katapusan itong korupsyon. Mahirap talaga pigilin,” Duterte said during his public address late Monday night.
The president’s remarks follows on the heels of fresh allegations of irregularities in the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth).
Duterte earlier promised to fire officials over just “a whiff” of corruption.
“Strong words and warnings may work, but only when backed by political will and followed by concrete actions. There is no better way,” Lacson said.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III also said that it is the corrupt officials who should be resigning and not Duterte.
“Dapat ‘yung mga corrupt sa gobyerno makaisip noon, hindi siya. He was elected by the country, he cannot turn his back on the specified task by the Filipinos! I don’t think he means it,” Sotto said in a message to reporters.
As for Duterte’s offer to appear before a Congressional hearing to tackle corruption, Lacson said it may not be necessary.
“In fact, the Senate is already proposing in a bill to give him Bayanihan-like powers to address red tape in government,” he said.
Lacson was referring to Senate Bill 1844 which seeks to authorize the president to expedite the issuance of national and local permits and licenses in times of national emergency to address corruption and red tape in the government. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Harlene Delgado)
UNTV is a major TV broadcast network with 24-hour programming. An Ultra High Frequency station with strong brand content that appeal to everyone, UNTV is one of the most trusted and successful Philippine networks that guarantees wholesome and quality viewing experience.