3 UN special rapporteurs to probe alleged human rights violations vs De Lima

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 21 2018 10:34 AM

MANILA - Three United Nations special rapporteurs are set to investigate alleged human rights violations committed against Senator Leila de Lima under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte, the detained senator's camp said Friday.

The UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences and Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers will look into De Lima's case, the lawmaker's camp said in a statement.

The development came months after De Lima sought the help of the UN Human Rights Council's (UNHRC) Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) to look into her case. 

"The Working Group concludes that the violations of Ms. De Lima’s rights to a fair trial are of such gravity as to render her deprivation of liberty arbitrary," the UN body said in a statement.

The lawmaker and vocal Duterte critic has been detained since February 2017 for allegedly masterminding the production of illegal drugs in the national penitentiary during her tenure as Justice Secretary under the Aquino administration.

She was jailed months after she spearheaded congressional hearings on the alleged extrajudicial killings committed under the Duterte administration's war on drugs.

Malacañang earlier said it was "fed up" with detractors using the UN as platform for "baseless criticism."

"We are fed up with this practice of using the UN as a platform to parrot baseless criticisms of local interest groups who are supported by resentful politicians belonging to the opposition," Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said.

"For too long has the UN been used by these detractors as a tool for vilification. UNSRs should be less gullible as this reinforces the President’s contempt for them who have consistently manifested bias against the Philippines," he said.