• UN rapporteur seeks unrestricted EJK probe

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    THE United Nations special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings (EJKs) wants the Philippine government to allow her to conduct an unrestricted investigation of alleged summary executions in the country.

    This was basically the content of the response of Agnes Callamard to an invitation extended by the Office of the President for her to probe the ongoing campaign against illegal drugs of the Duterte administration.

    According to Sen. Paolo Benigno Aquino 4th, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) already received the response of the UN special rapporteur to the invitation of Malacañang including her own conditions.

    Aquino made the disclosure during resumption of Senate plenary deliberations on the proposed 2017 national budget on Wednesday night when he defended the P16.59-billion budget of the DFA for next year.

    Sen. Leila de Lima asked Aquino about the status of the invitation to the UN special rapporteur and if there is already confirmation that the United Nations indeed received it.

    “The status is that the President [Rodrigo Duterte] actually issued an invitation to the UN special rapporteur to visit the Philippines. However, in the invitation letter, there were some conditions set. She [Callamard] has responded already with her own conditions and now an inter-agency body has been created to discuss each of the party’s conditions,” Aquino told de Lima.

    De Lima then asked Aquino if he could disclose the conditions imposed by the Philippine government and the conditions requested or made by the UN, to which Aquino replied: “The President insisted on a public debate between himself and the [UN rapporteur] as one of the conditions.”

    Malacañang, in its invitation sent to UN last month, included additional conditions for the UN special rapporteur during the country visit like public presentation in the Philippines of her findings and opportunity for the President to publicly ask questions and present additional information or clarification in the presence of the special rapporteur and the media.

    Aquino said Callamard has not replied to the conditions set by the President but she did reply to the invitation with her own list of conditions.

    Among the conditions set by the UN special rapporteur are freedom of movement in the whole country, including facilitation of transport, including restricted areas; freedom of inquiry with regard to access to all prisons, detention centers and places of interrogation; contacts with central and local authorities, representatives of non-government organizations (NGOs), private institutions and the media; as well as confidential and unsupervised contact with witnesses and other private persons, including persons deprived of their liberty considered necessary to fulfill the mandate of her job.

    Cullamard is also demanding full access to all documentary materials relevant to the mandate; the government assurance that persons, whether officials or private individuals who have been in contact with her will not, as a result, suffer threats or punishment or be subjected to judicial proceedings; and appropriate security arrangements without, however, restricting the freedom of movement of inquiry referred to above.

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    2 Comments

    1. Evidently D5’s strategy is to scream harassment to Cullamard over her impending criminal prosecution. It is as I feared and predicted in my prior comments, the UN ICC may have difficulty proving EJK’s but they will visit and then condemn the undeniable deplorable and inhuman prison conditions in the Philippines.

      Cruel and unusual punishment is unconstitutional, illegal detention too is unconstitutional under our law and also violates international human rights. So how come a large percentage of reformed inmates, meaning those who have served their minimum sentence with good behavior are not already released under the rules of the revised penal code. Why are they still in jail? Why are most still serving the maximum sentence as if they were hardened criminals?

      Why do hardened criminals get priority in pardon, parole commutation? Because they have higher prison status? Hardened criminals are even allowed by the prison authorities to run the prisons and get out earlier. This corruption and incompetence in running our penal system must stop.

      It is a good sign that Du30 is studying freeing the 80 year old inmates, but that’s not enough. Penal reviews are prone to years of bureaucratic delay worse than the courts. He must expedite the process before they die waiting like what happened under Pnoy who scandalously pardoned a hand full of inmates some of them already dead.

      The president should also expand the scope of those to be freed since penal law already specifies 70 as the prescribed age for humanitarian senior citizen inmates release. The requisite age to qualify a senior citizen under the law is 60. So what more to study?

      Such irony if these decrepit old inmates who have paid their debt to society, pose little danger to the public are feared, while a teenager can commit murder and not go to jail because the law says he is a minor. That is the defect and stupidity of our law.

      For crime there must be punishment, but meted justly in proportion to the crime committed.

    2. In my opinion there is no problem granting all the demands and conditions set forth by the UN Rapporteur provided also, that all conditions embodied in the
      President’s request be granted; UN conditions in summary are: freedom of movement, facilitation of transport, freedom of inquiry, unsupervised contact with witnesses, full access to documentary materials relating to the mandate, government assurance that persons, whether officials or private individuals who have been in contact with her will not, as a result, suffer threats or punishment or be subjected to judicial proceedings and appropriate security arrangement. Provided, however, all testimonies and representations, explicitly or implicitly must all be truthful and were not thwarted or twisted and within once authority to speak, including such opinion provided them must be within the government purview and intent, otherwise, anyone of these witnesses, person or persons or juridical entities, It is imperative that they will all be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. In the same manner, the UN Rapporteur’s Report must be corrected accordingly. Should the Report of UN denied appropriate correction, we will consider the report condemned in all its entirety, a very good reason to separate or withdraw our Philippine membership to the UN and join the ‘new world order’ of China and Russia.