Various groups accuse Duterte admin of authoritarian rule

admin   •   September 18, 2017   •   7659


MANILA, Philippines — Their concerns over the alleged existence of extrajudicial killings and the administration’s supposed disrespect for human rights and rule of law are what encouraged various groups to join forces and create a coalition they call “Tindig Pilipinas”.

The new coalition is composed of Cabinet members of former President Benigno Aquino III, members of the Senate minority bloc and independent minority bloc in Congress, the Magdalo group, and Akbayan, among others.

Aside from their concerns over the Duterte administration’s war on drugs, the members said that they formed the coalition to also fight against what they describe as President Rodrigo Duterte’s “authoritarian” style of leadership.

“Let us provide resolute resistance, when officials actions violate our country’s core beliefs, all of us have the right to demand and the duty to say, not in our name,” said Magdalo party-list Representative Gary Alejano.

“In the name of good governance we call upon the president to stop weakening if not destroying our democratic institutions,” said Civil Service Commission former chair Karina David.

Liberal Party (LP) President Senator Kiko Pangilinan, meanwhile, denied that the Liberal Party created the said coalition to oppose the actions and policies of the incumbent president.

“Our support, me as a president of the Liberal Party, is still at a personal level. Although the minority group in the Senate, all the senators are supporting this initiative,” said Pangilinan.

The coalition is set to hold a protest on Thursday, September 21, to commemorate the 45th anniversary of martial law.

On the other hand, President Rodrigo Duterte said that he is not worried over the actions against his leadership.

“What I want is that all of you who have a grudge against me to gather. All of you who are members of the NPA in farms, in Davao. Join in it. Go down. I will order the military to not conduct arrest. Just don’t bring arms. Join in these protests. Just don’t cause damage,” said the President. — Joan Nano| UNTV News & Rescue

UN offers assistance to ensure anti-terrorism law complies with human rights laws — DOJ

Aileen Cerrudo   •   December 8, 2020

The United Nations has offered to provide technical assistance to ensure the country’s anti-terrorism law complies with human rights laws, according to Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Menardo Guevarra.

Guevarra expressed his gratitude towards the UN at the Philippine Human Rights Summit on Monday (December 7).

“We take this opportunity to thank the United Nations — through the UN Resident Coordinator — for their offer of technical assistance in the undertaking to ensure that the anti-terrorism rules conform to the fundamental tenets of human rights laws,” he said.

However, the DOJ official clarified this does not mean that the anti-terrorism law needs any amendment, saying the UN only wants the country to see best practices of human rights from countries around the world.

He also said that the DOJ’s Human Rights Summit will discuss the human rights guarantees under the anti-terrorism law through its implementing rules and regulations (IRR).

“These safeguards, among other measures, have been included in the implementing rules to ensure that the anti-terrorism law serves its purpose without invading the cherished rights and prerogatives of a people under a functioning democracy,” according to Guevarra.

The summit will be attended by various government agencies, Human Rights Affairs Office, the Philippine National Police, and the UN. AAC (with reports from Dante Amento)

Duterte hits gov’t critics, vows to uphold human rights at UN

Robie de Guzman   •   September 23, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte blasted the critics of his administration’s campaign against illegal drugs, criminality and terrorism, whom he said are using the human rights issue to discredit functioning institutions and mechanisms of a democratic country and a popularly elected government.”

In a pre-recorded message aired at the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Duterte highlighted the Philippines Anti-Terrorism Law which was passed amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The measure drew criticisms, with several groups claiming this could be used to silence and prosecute political opponents.

“A number of interest groups have weaponized human rights; some well-meaning, others ill-intentioned,” Duterte said in his message.

This is the first time that Duterte participated in the gathering since he became president four years ago.

“They attempt to discredit the functioning institutions and mechanisms of a democratic country and a popularly elected which in its last two years, still enjoy the same widespread approval and support,” he said.

“These detractors pass themselves off as human rights advocates while preying on the most vulnerable humans; even using children as soldiers or human shields in encounters. Even schools are not spared from their malevolence and anti-government propaganda. They hide their misdeeds under the blanket of human rights but the blood oozes through,” he added.

Duterte said his administration remains committed to protecting human rights and continue to take part in “ open dialogue and constructive engagement” with the United Nations.

“But these must be done in full respect of the principles of objectivity, non-interference, non-selectivity, and genuine dialogue. These are the fundamental bases for productive international cooperation on human rights,” he said. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

Philippine army withdraws martial law recommendation for Sulu

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 31, 2020

The Philippine Army has withdrawn its recommendation to re-impose martial law in Sulu province after the twin blast incident in Jolo which killed 15 and injured 74 individuals.

Army Chief LtGen. Cirilito Sobejana said they respect the decision of the national leadership as well as the sentiment of the general public.

“I drop my recommendation for martial law declaration over Sulu despite the turmoil as there might be other better options,” he said in a statement.

“I always give due respect to the wisdom of our national leadership and the sentiment of the general public but I felt it appropriate to share with you that the military had displayed utmost professionalism and maturity during our martial law implementation in Sulu when I was the JTF (Joint Task Force) Sulu Commander in 2017,” he added.

Local officials have earlier expressed their opposition to the re-imposition of martial law in Sulu. AAC (with reports from Lea Ylagan)

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