Roque wants different UN special rapporteur to probe drug war

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 27 2018 01:35 PM | Updated as of Feb 27 2018 02:05 PM

MANILA - Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque on Tuesday said he would recommend to President Rodrigo Duterte a different United Nations special rapporteur to conduct an investigation into the government’s war on drugs. 

This as he asserted that Agnes Callamard, the UN’s special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, was unfit to conduct an "objective and unbiased" inquiry given her earlier statements against the government's anti-drug campaign. 

Callamard has been the subject of Duterte’s tirades. 

“As I have said before, it’s her fault the home state does not want her in. Part of the qualification of a special rapporteur is to be trustworthy enough so member nation of United Nations will allow a special rapporteur to investigate,” Roque said in a news conference in MalacaƱang.

Roque, as the presidential adviser on human rights, said he would recommend to Duterte at least one UN special rapporteur who may be allowed to undertake the inquiry. 

He said this after Iceland, during the 37th regular session of the UN Human Rights Council, called on the Philippines to allow Callamard to conduct the probe unimpeded.

“All investigations must be consented to by state parties. There’s no one that can compel a state party to allow an investigation if it does not want,” Roque said.

The government has a standing invitation for Callamard to visit the Philippines and conduct a probe into the human rights situation here, but the special rapporteur rejected this as it came with conditions, such as holding a public debate with the President.

Callamard visited Manila in May to attend a drug policy forum co-sponsored by the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) and the Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG), a group of human rights lawyers. 

At the time, Callamard was criticized for paying a visit to the Philippines, but she noted that did not come to assess the country's human rights situation and that she told the government about her arrival. 

The government has asserted that it does not sanction summary killings or police abuses in the anti-narcotics campaign. 

Officials have earlier said drug suspects slain in police operations had put up violent resistance, prompting officers to defend themselves.