Panelo claims telling UN's Ban: Info you got were wrong

Trishia Billones, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 15 2016 03:37 PM | Updated as of Sep 15 2016 04:51 PM

Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo has claimed he has spoken to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit in Laos to clarify issues on drug-related killings in the Philippines.

"I talked with the Secretary-General and I was telling him that all the information you had been receiving have been wrong," he told ANC's Headstart Thursday.

"More than 10 minutes, we were talking with each other. I was explaining to him that these extrajudicial killings you have been hearing about are actually done by the members of the drug syndicates," he said.

Panelo said the spate of killings is actually the handiwork of syndicates ridding itself of cohorts that may testify against them.

"There’s so many killings because there are so many surrenderees who are pushers and users—they are either pusher or user or both. They are going to tell on their colleagues," he said.

"Now, if you are one of their colleagues, what will you do? You are going to protect yourself and kill them. That’s why they’re killing each other. That’s why nobody’s complaining," he said.

Panelo asserted there is "absolutely [sic] no" possibility of police abuse because, for one, President Rodrigo Duterte himself is against it.

"He said, ‘Anybody who abuses authority will not go unpunished. There is hell to pay'," he said.

Panelo maintained all casualties during police operations resisted arrest.

"These pushers and addicts are sick. They have, according to the experts, their sickness is irreversible. May problema talaga ang mga utak niyan eh....‘Yung mga taong ‘yan, when they go out, may mga baril ‘yan. Hindi susuko sa’yo yan. Makikipag-patayan sa’yo ‘yan [These drug suspects are armed and won't surrender. They will fight it out with you]," he said.

NO INVITATION NEEDED FOR UN RAPPORTEURS

Panelo also asserted that United Nations Special Rapporteurs do not need an invitation to visit the Philippines if they had been in the country before issuing statements against the administration's drug war.

Panelo maintained, they should have visited the country "before they opened their mouth."

"They don’t need an invitation. They should have come here in the first place before they opened their mouth. They have been saying a lot of things," he said.

Philippines' permanent representative to the United Nations (UN) in Geneva, Ambassador Cecilia Rebong on Wednesday said the administration's ongoing war against illegal drugs firmly follows "rule of law, due process, and human rights principles" and that no "shoot to kill" order against drug suspects was issued.

The statement comes in response to the earlier speech of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, who said President Rodrigo Duterte's "statements of scorn for international human rights law display a striking lack of understanding of human rights institutions and the principles which keep societies safe."

Zeid urged Duterte to send an invitation to the United Nations rights body regarding extra-judicial, summary, and arbitrary executions in the Philippines.

"My office is ready to assist, including with respect to rule of law institutions and the prevention and treatment of drug use in accordance with international norms,” he said.

But, Panelo believes, it's Zeid who is "is the one lacking in understanding of human rights."

"No order was made by the president regarding shoot-to-kill. We must remember that this president is a lawyer, he is trained in law. We lawyers always follow the rule of law," he said.

READ: UN experts nix Duterte's license to kill

"If it’s true that what they had been saying had been validated, why do they have to come here? They can say that, ‘Oh, we’ve validated that already; we don’t have to come there'," he said.