No impunity in PH, Palace tells 39 UN states

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Malacañang on Friday said the Philippine government would never accept foreign intervention in its internal affairs, particularly in its crackdown on illegal drugs.

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Palace spokesman Ernesto Abella issued the statement after 39 member-states of the United Nations (UN) expressed alarm over the alleged summary executions of suspected drug offenders in the country.

In a statement, Abella maintained there was no culture impunity in the Philippines amid the government’s crackdown on the illegal drug trade.

“Unfortunately, it still appears that some parties refuse to understand certain aspects of our human rights efforts. So let us be clear. There is no culture of impunity in the Philippines,” Abella said.

“The state is investigating all credible allegations of human rights violations by all its agents and will continue to do so, consistent with our constitution and laws, and in compliance with the spirit of our national traditions of liberty and democracy,” he added.

Iceland, on behalf of 38 other countries, delivered a joint statement on Thursday, expressing serious concern over the thousands of drug-related killings and alleged impunity associated with Duterte’s drug war.

The number of signatories rose to 39 from the previous 32 nations that expressed a similar concern during the 35th session of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in June.

The member-states called on the Philippines to cooperate with foreign entities in conducting an inquiry into the reported drug killings under Duterte’s leadership.

“We urge the government of the Philippines to take all necessary measures to bring these killings to an end and cooperate with the international community to pursue appropriate investigations into these incidents, in keeping with universal principles of democratic accountability and the rule of law,” Iceland said at the 36th session of the UNHRC.

The joint statement was signed by Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Moldova, Montenegro, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Ukraine, and the United States.

The Philippines recently claimed a “big victory” after the review of its human rights record at the HRC despite disappointments of several states over Manila’s rejection of some key recommendations.

The Duterte government welcomed only 103 of 257 recommendations and merely “took note” on the suggestions related to extrajudicial killings in its war on illegal drugs.

“Our recent Universal Periodic Review (UPR) showed the whole world our record in the human rights field. Our accomplishments were well-recognized,” Abella said.

A day earlier however, President Duterte said he would rather preserve only the lives of law-abiding citizens.

“I have talked to priests, they asked me, how am I supposed to protect the Filipino people when there are a lot of them dying? I said, I have to preserve the Filipino. I did not say I will preserve all the Filipinos, including those who want to destroy the Filipino young and the Filipino law-abiding citizens,” Duterte said in Balangiga, Eastern Samar.

“My orders to the military and the police are very, very clear. Whether you are a terrorist or a drug lord, talagang ipapapatay kita (I will really have you killed),” Duterte added.

The President again blamed the “Bamboo Triad” for flooding the Philippines with illegal drugs.

The syndicate, Duterte claimed, had infested 40 percent of the 42,000 villages in the country and 9,000 policemen.

“I preserve the people, [and that is]for the law-abiding, God-fearing citizens. There are plenty of them. How can I preserve [them]if I allow these idiots to flood the country with drugs?” Duterte said.

“I have to destroy the organized crime and I have to destroy people and materials. I don’t have a choice there,” Duterte added.

LLANESCA T. PANTI

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