UN High Commissioner got false info from critics: Palace

MANILA - The information received by United Nations (UN) High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet regarding the government's anti-illegal drug campaign is false as it came from the critics of the administration of President Rodrigo R. Duterte, Malacañang said on Thursday.

In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Bachelet's remarks that the Philippines' war against illegal drugs is not a good model for any other country to follow in stamping out the menace, due to lack of respect for rule of law, is "reckless and irresponsible".

"The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet has been supplied with the usual vintage and false information, peddled by the President’s critics and detractors including that of politicized UN Special rapporteurs," he said.

Panelo said Bachelet's "use of long-discredited sources" does not portray the gains of the Duterte administration in protecting Filipinos from the harms of illegal drugs.

"Those information have been found to emanate from groups that are either closely identified with the CPP-NPA (Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army) which have been declared as terrorists by the EU and the US, or from groups aligned with the political party whose candidate in the 2016 elections was soundly defeated by the current president," he said.

Panelo reiterated the Philippine government's commitment and respect to human rights.

"The Philippines, as an active and steadfast advocate of human rights, will continue to stand for the vulnerable in our society and around the world. As we do so, we will vigorously defend ourselves and our people against these baseless attempts to undermine our efforts and continue to stand for truth and progress," he said.

Panelo addressed Bachelet's criticisms of the government's war on drugs, saying the 27,000 deaths cited by the UN official is a "grossly inflated number".

Panelo dismissed Bachelet's claim that only the case of slain teen Kian delos Santos was investigated and led to the prosecution of those responsible.

"She forgot to include the Carl Arnaiz case where two policemen who found to have erred in the conduct of their mission were ordered dismissed by the Philippine National Police (PNP). This is not to mention the program undertaken by PNP to cleanse its ranks (of) rogue cops," he said.

Panelo said the Duterte government is already doing Bachelet's recommendation of adopting a public health approach in combatting illegal drugs.

Philippine Permanent Representative to the UN Evan P. Garcia earlier said it is always best to verify with the government matters pertaining to human rights and security amid the misinformation of some groups that have influence in countries around the world.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) earlier said the government continues to uphold the rule of law and ensure that alleged human rights violations in the country are "properly investigated". (PNA)