Human rights group Karapatan should have lodged its concerns over the alleged 25 cases of extrajudicial killings before local institutions instead of going to United Nations special rapporteurs Agnes Callamard and Michael Forst, Malacañang said on Sunday.
The move made by Karapatan to take the Duterte administration to the UN, according to Palace spokesman Harry Roque, was “useless” and was only done for “propaganda purposes.”
“It’s useless to go to the UN without filing cases before the [local]fiscal’s office. Filing directly with the UN is only for propaganda purposes because there are institutions in the Philippines that could address it,” Roque, a former human rights lawyer, told reporters in an interview.
Karapatan, he said, should have brought the cases first to the Supreme Court for a writ of amparo “if they are concerned about upholding the right to life.”
On Saturday, the militant human rights group, through its Secretary General Cristina Palabay, submitted a letter to Callamard and Forst citing cases of alleged extrajudicial killings resulting from the government’s counter-insurgency drive.
In the letter, Palabay said perpetrators of extrajudicial killings of peasants, indigenous peoples, Moro, workers, women and the youth were from the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
She urged Callamard and Forst to take immediate actions on such killings allegedly committed by the Philippine military.
Last May, Callamard visited the country to attend a forum at the University of the Philippines in Quezon City and her allegedly clandestine visit earned the ire of Malacañang.
She is a UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions while Forst is a Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders.
Palabay said she had initially informed the two UN officials in April of 47 alleged extrajudicial killings cases.
Roque said he has not seen the Karapatan letter and conceded that he does not have any idea whether the group has lodged its concerns before local courts.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana refused to comment on the matter.