Palace: PH exercised independent foreign policy during UN review

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 25 2017 06:16 PM

MANILA – Malacañang on Monday defended anew the government’s decision to reject several propositions of the member-states of the United Nations Human Rights Council in the review of its human rights records.

During the 36th session of the Universal Period Review in Geneva, the Philippines welcomed only 103 recommendations out of the 257 it received, while taking note of the remaining 154.

In rejecting the propositions, the Philippines denied the existence of extrajudicial killings in the country thar are being linked to President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.

The Philippines accepted “in principle" 99 of the 154 noted suggestions, according to Ambassador Evan Garcia, while Manila said it could not fully support the remaining 55 due to their "premises and context".

Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said the decision of the Philippines to reject Ghana’s suggestion to allow Agnes Callamard, UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, to investigate deaths under the drug war, was “part of our prerogative to exercise independent foreign policy.”

“There are certain items that we feel --- needs to be acted on and --- in order to continue to maintain our constitutional stance of maintaining an independent foreign policy,” Abella said in a news conference in Malacañang.

President Rodrigo Duterte has repeatedly blasted Callamard for the latter’s stinging criticism of his controversial war on drugs.

The police say about 3,800 have been killed in legitimate police anti-illegal drug operations, but human rights groups say thousands more have been killed in unexplained circumstances due to the culture of impunity created by the President and his underlings.

Duterte has set conditions before Callamard could conduct an investigation into the human rights situation in the Philippines, including a public debate wherein the UN rapporteur would be required to speak under oath.

Aside from the proposition to allow an unimpeded access to the country for Callamard, Manila also rejected recommendations involving the re-imposition of the death penalty in the country and the lowering of minimum age of criminal liability.