Roque: Palace probing alleged human rights violations even before UNHRC call

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 23 2018 12:53 PM | Updated as of Jun 24 2018 12:10 AM

A gun is seen on the hand of one of two alleged drug pushers who were killed after allegedly fighting it out with police in Tondo, Manila. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA (UPDATE) - The Philippine government has been probing alleged human rights violations in the country even before 38 member states of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) urged Malacañang to "cooperate" in human rights assessments, a Palace official said Saturday.

The UNHRC member-states on Tuesday signed a joint statement that called on the Philippines "to cooperate with the United Nations system—including the Human Rights Council and its special procedure mandate holders—without preconditions or limitations."

"Nasabi ko na sa inyo na may imbentaryo kami nung mga napatay 'di umano sa giyera laban sa droga para malaman namin kung talagang nasunod ba ang tamang proseso o hindi," Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said.

(I've told you before that we keep an inventory of the people who were allegedly killed during the war on drugs so that we can see if due process was observed.)

"Ibig sabihin hindi namin kinakailangan ang panawagan ng mga dayuhan, ginagawa na po namin 'yan maski walang ganyang panawagan," he said.

(It means that we don't need to be urged by foreigners because we have been doing that [human rights assessment] even when there were no calls for it.)

As of March 2018, 91,704 anti-drug operations have been carried out in the country since President Rodrigo Duterte rose to power in July 2016, data from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency showed.

Out of the total 2,467 drug-related homicide incidents recorded, only 715 cases had been solved while 1,752 are still under investigation, data showed.

Government has several times asserted that it has nothing to do with vigilante killings of drug suspects, saying those slain in police operations had resisted arrest. 

Last year, Duterte warned UN Special Rapporteur Agnes Callamard that he would "slap her" if she investigates him for the alleged extrajudicial killings under his administration's war on drugs.

In March, Roque said Callamard may come to the Philippines only as a tourist, and not as a UN investigator.

Magdalo Partylist Rep. Gary Alejano welcomed the UNHRC's statement, which puts "additional pressure on the Philippine government to address its policy on illegal drugs."

"Cooperation with the investigation on the killings is imperative to keep the integrity of the institution and trust of the people on our government bodies," Alejano said in a statement.