MANILA – Senator Robinhood Padilla said Tuesday the United States House of Representatives' move to limit American assistance to the Philippine National Police (PNP) due to alleged human rights violations has no basis.
Padilla said as a reservist, he had personally witnessed how the PNP and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) have upheld human rights in their activities and operations.
Holding the rank of captain, he quit his post as head of the communications panel of the Philippine Army's Multi-Sectoral Advisory Board in December last year after filing his Certificate of Candidacy to ensure that the AFP remained non-partisan.
"Witness ako nito sa pagiging makatao ng AFP at ng PNP. Kung meron akong nakikitang mali na ginagawa ng PNP o AFP, o anumang sangay sa gobyerno na may kinalaman sa human rights, ako po ang unang unang magsasalita at magsasabi sa inyo (I have witnessed how the AFP and PNP respect human rights. If I see human rights violations by the PNP or AFP or any branch of government, I will call them out)," he said in an interview on news portal SMNI.
"Pero sa mahigit isang taon sa AFP, kitang kita ko ang paggalang ng naka-uniporme sa sibilyan. Hindi ko maintindihan kung saan nanggaling ito, kung saan humuhugot ang oposisyon sa banat banat na puro human rights violations (I have worked for more than a year in the AFP. I have seen for myself how our men and women in uniform respect human rights. I don't know where the reports of violations are coming from)," he added.
Pennsylvania Rep. Susan Wild has pushed for an amendment to the US National Defense Authorization Act for 2023 which will limit the aid that is being given to PNP until it complies with "human rights requirements."
Padilla said he witnessed how the US expressed its support for the Philippines after attending the US Embassy's recent celebration of its Independence Day.
"Ang hinihiling lang namin sa inyo, hindi ito ang oras na maging masyado tayong mapulitika. Wala nang sinisigaw ang ating bagong Pangulo kundi unity tayo, magkaisa na tayo. Ito dinadamay na naman ninyo ang US, dinadamay na naman ninyo ang Europe (My appeal to you is that now is not the time for politicking. Our new President has called for unity, let us unite. And do not drag the United States and Europe into your politicking)," he said.
The senator called for unity anew, citing the overwhelming support of Filipinos for former President Rodrigo Duterte and President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
"Ang ating mundo ngayon talagang kung di tayo magkaka-isa, malulugi po tayong mga Pilipino. Ito ang oras na tayo kahit magkaka-iba tayo ng ating mga adhikain pero pagdating sa kapakanan ng bayang Pilipinas at kapwa nating Pilipino parang awa nyo na po, magkaisa na po tayo (If we don't unite now, we will end up the losers. This is the time to unite despite differences in our beliefs, for the sake of our country and our people)," Padilla said. (PNA)