UN experts' call for probe on PH biased, made in bad faith: DFA

By Joyce Ann L. Rocamora

June 9, 2019, 11:33 am

MANILA -- The Philippine government, through the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), on Saturday night slammed some United Nations rapporteurs as biased over their fresh calls for an independent probe on the human rights situation in Manila.

"We reject this call as it is being made in bad faith by parties who want to undermine domestic processes and spread disinformation, on the basis of one-sided reports coming from questionable sources," the DFA said in a statement through Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Emmanuel Fernandez.

The agency said this action indicates the refusal of these parties to engage "in true dialogue".

"By ignoring the accountability and other information provided by the Philippines in good faith, these parties show their bias and political agenda and assail the credibility and objectivity of the human rights mechanisms as constructive platforms of dialogue between the United Nations and the member states," it pointed out.

On Friday, 11 independent experts, including UN rapporteur Agnes Callamard, accused the Philippine government of "sustained attack on people and institutions defending human rights."

Citing this, they called on the UN Human Rights Council to establish an independent investigation on this alleged violation.

In its statement, the DFA belied these claims saying the Philippines is "a democratic nation with strong institutions and the government has an unshakeable determination to promote and protect the human rights of every Filipino."

On Saturday, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo described the UN Special Rapporteur’s call for an independence probe as an interference on Philippine sovereignty.

"The 11 UN Special Rapporteurs' act of peddling a biased and absolutely false recital of facts, adulterated with malicious imputations against the constituted authorities, smacks of unpardonable intrusions on our sovereignty," Panelo said in a statement.

"Let the enemies of the state and their supporters from foreign soil be forewarned that no amount of destructive narratives against this government will envelope it with the appearance of pretended truth to hoodwink the Filipino people in embracing it," he added.

Panelo said the information presented by the UN Special Rapporteurs come from the detractors of the Duterte administration.

He added the reasons cited by the UN Special Rapporteurs for the investigation "have been discredited and repudiated by the very nation they pretend to care about."

The Palace spokesperson said positive surveys and election results show negative propaganda against the Duterte administration is not working.

He defended the Duterte administration’s campaign against illegal drugs, saying it “is pursuant to the primary duty of the state to preserve and protect the people”.

“Law enforcement authorities operate on strict protocols. Any deviation from it is met with the unyielding strong arm of the law with no transgressors immune from it,” said Panelo, also Chief Presidential Legal Counsel. (PNA)