CHR: UN probe unnecessary if police were open with drug war info

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 15 2019 10:30 AM | Updated as of Jul 15 2019 11:10 AM

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MANILA -- A United Nations body would not have sought a report on the Philippines' anti-narcotics drive if the local police shared details of the deadly campaign to the Commission on Human Rights, one of its officials said Monday. 

The UN Human Rights Council last week adopted Iceland's resolution calling for a comprehensive report of the crackdown, which according to government data has killed some 6,600 drug suspects since 2016. 

The police has not responded to CHR's verbal and written requests for details on these deaths, said rights commissioner Karen Dumpit. 

"They have not done what they said they will do: that they will turn over information they have so that we can also probe properly. We wouldn't have come to this point if the government has been open about all these investigations," she told ANC. 

The CHR, she said, has not "even scratched 10 percent of the numbers that are out there." 

"It's just not counting how many deaths, it's actually locating where these investigations are. If it just falls to and ends in the [PNP] Internal Affairs Service, then there's something wrong with that because you're not allowing impartial, thorough, transparent investigation from being conducted," Dumpit added. 

Eighteen countries, mostly from Europe, voted in favor of the UNHRC resolution, while 14, including China, voted against it. Fifteen others abstained. 

Following the vote, President Rodrigo Duterte said Iceland has "too much ice" and does not "understand the social, economic, political problems of the Philippines."  

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr., meanwhile, said that if Iceland's resolution gathered support, "that means bonuses for everyone who worked for it—from the drug cartels." 

Manila "cannot just point fingers on who has the higher moral ground," said Dumpit. 

"The bottomline here is we must be able to account for each and every killing that happened in this campaign against criminality," she said. 

"They (government) should view really as a positive development because they will Now have the opportunity to show the world what they are doing and if things are not right, then they should be open to the recommendations of the Human Rights Council," she added. 

The CHR is "open to cooperate" with its UN counterpart, said Dumpit. 

"If they ask us for information, then we will give it to them. If they ask us for our opinion, our observations, we can give them copies of the statements that we have had," she said. 

The administration has repeatedly denied involvement in summary killings, saying drug suspects slain in police operations had resisted arrest.

Police reported that 12,177 barangays have been declared “cleared” of illicit drugs out of 42,045. A total of 20,471 other barangays have yet to be cleared of narcotics, with still 282 are classified as “seriously” affected, mostly in Metro Manila.

“We are on track to significantly reduce, if not totally eliminate illegal drugs in the country. But more work needs to be done,” said Philippine National Police spokesperson Bernard Banac. 

President Rodrigo Duterte is facing cases before the International Criminal Court for alleged mass murders and human rights violations under the drug war. He has withdrawn the country from the treaty that created the ICC.