MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday said he is willing to place his war on drugs under scrutiny by the United Nations (UN) as long as it complies with certain conditions.
Duterte earlier publicly invited a UN rights body to investigate cases of extra-judicial killings in the country amid concerns over his controversial war on drugs.
But the president said the UN will have to conduct its investigation following “Philippine jurisdictional requirements.”
“We will do it in our jurisdiction. We will have sanctions. Because what can I do? What is the remedy available to me kung magsinungaling ka? [What would be my remedy if you lie?] ” he said.
Duterte said he needs protection from political opponents such as Senator Leila de Lima, who he said could feed the UN probers with “lies.”
“Ang kukunin na report would be all garbage coming from De Lima. Kung may kaso pa talaga, si De Lima na mismo ang gumanon sa akin. She’s passing that responsibility to another forum,” he said.
[The report that the UN might come up might be garbage from De Lima. If De Lima really has a strong case against me, why did she not file it? She’s passing the responsibility to another forum.]
"I will not just allow garbage to be received and then brought to the UN tapos atakihin ako ng ganoon."
[I will not allow garbage to be received and brought to the UN and then I will be attacked for it.]
Ousted as head of the Senate justice committee probing the spate of killings linked to Duterte's war on drugs, De Lima invited the UN to conduct its own probe into the president's controversial campaign.
Duterte said he is now imposing these conditions because an earlier UN report made by then-UN special rapporteur Philip Alston in 2007 raised the issue of the alleged Davao Death Squad. He said he had no avenue to assail Alston’s report.
“From my experience, nung report sa Davao, tapos yung report dito nung president na ako, and they will ask me question, and after that they will make a report, to his commission and to the assembly, then it is deliberated. Anong participation ko?” he said.
[From my experience in Davao City, and now I’m the president, they will ask me questions, and after they make their report to the commission and to the assembly, it is deliberated. What is my participation?]
“I am not a mayor who would please a world body. What would be my remedy kung iyang garbage na iyan ang dalhin ng rapporteur? Ang proposal ko, let us have an open investigation. Sumali na kayo, that would be the time maybe you can ask question and I will answer,” he added, referring to the media.
[I am not a mayor who would please a world body. What would be my remedy if that garbage is taken up by the UN rapporteur? My proposal is let us have an open investigation. You join, that would be the time maybe you can ask question and I will answer.]
UN RAPPORTEUR SEEKS ‘GUARANTEES’
UN rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions Agnes Callamard told AFP Monday she intended to visit the Philippines to investigate Duterte's deadly war on crime, but was seeking security guarantees for people she planned to speak with.
Callamard said while the government has yet to issue formal invitations, said she would solicit one.
"I welcome the reports recently (conveyed) through the media that the president and government of the Philippines will invite a UN mission to investigate the alleged extrajudicial executions," Callamard said in a statement emailed to AFP.
Callamard said that she would insist on a range of measures to ensure that those who spoke with her did not face retribution.
"The date and scope of the fact-finding mission will be discussed and negotiated with the government, along with essential guarantees," she said.
Those would include "my freedom of movement and freedom of inquiry, and the assurance that those who cooperate with me will not be the object of retaliation, such as intimidation, threats, harassment or punishment," she said.
Department of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Charles Jose guaranteed that there will be no effort to censor or restrict investigators.
Jose believes consultations will be a "two-way" street where the terms of reference of the probe will be agreed upon by both sides.
"The rapporteurs can suggest the places they want to visit, the people they would like to talk to and UN country team can arrange those visits for them--either the country and country team or the Philippine government, but it has to be by mutual agreement," said Jose. – with Agence France-Presse