Malacañang on Wednesday called United Nations (UN) special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions Agnes Callamard incompetent and unfair in assessing the Philippines’ war on illegal drugs.
Palace spokesman Harry Roque made the statement after Rupert Colville, spokesman of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, called out President Rodrigo Duterte for his threats against Callamard.
“Ms. Callamard, we reiterate, is not a competent and impartial rapporteur on our anti-drug campaign. The way she conducted herself does not befit her office,” Roque said in a statement.
Roque, who was recently appointed as Presidential human rights adviser, said Colville should not take Duterte’s remark seriously.
“We note the concerns of Spokesperson Rupert Colville of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, however, he should do well not to judge the colorful language the President is known for, but by what he stands for and the values he holds dear,” Roque said.
“We need to point that the President’s remarks on Callamard were addressed to a Filipino audience who are used to the Chief Executive’s unorthodox rhetoric,” he added.
On Tuesday, the UN rights body denounced Duterte’s derogatory remarks against Callamard, who became the subject of “a tirade of abuse, including physical threats” on social media.
Colville said Callamard, who has voiced her concerns over Duterte’s drug war, was merely fulfilling her mandate as UN special rapporteur on summary executions.
The President’s spokesman noted that it was Callamard who made a “deeply insulting” move when she visited the Philippines in May without considering the conditions set by the Duterte government for her visit to the country.
“Lest we forget, she came unannounced to the country in May this year even while the terms of her official visit were still being finalized. And she did so using an event organized by a group that was extremely critical of the administration and presenting herself as a resource person for that event,” Roque said.
He urged Colville to look into Callamard’s “arrogance” in going against the Philippine government’s protocol, saying it was contrary to some human rights experts’ “unbiased and transparent manner free of all political machinations, in accordance with their code of conduct and ethics.”
“President Duterte’s standing offer to host a Global Human Rights Summit shows that this administration welcomes disinterested and apolitical human rights experts in the country. We believe there must be a venue for dialogue where human rights, given the wide array of rights it covers, can be discussed from a global perspective and not from the view of politicized individuals,” Roque said.