PHILIPPINE – The Malacanang Palace has asked the United Nations (UN) formally to look into the alleged extrajudicial killings of drug suspects in the Philippines, saying it should also investigate the deaths of policemen in legitimate operations.
Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella said In a news conference that Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea had sent a formal invitation to UN special rapporteur on summary executions Agnes Callamard.
Abella said to reporters, “The Palace has sent the invitation to UN Special Rapporteur Agnes Callamard and is awaiting her response.”
“In its invitation, the Palace also urged the UN rapporteur to include in her investigation the killings of law enforcers by drug suspects so that she could obtain an accurate perspective of the drug problem in the country,” Abella added.
He then mentioned that there would be a change in the way Philippine National Police operatives treat drug suspects.
Abella said, “Instead of Duterte’s earlier ‘shoot-to-kill’ stance, suspects will be disabled.”
“Basically the shoot-to-kill thing was in defense of oneself. The President’s usual statement is that if you see that your life is under danger, then you are to defend yourself properly,” he added.
Earlier, Callamard and Dainius Puras, the UN special rapporteur on the right to health, rebuked the Duterte administration by accusing it giving law enforcers and civilians the license to kill drug suspects.
Callamard said in a statement on August 18, “Directives of this nature are irresponsible in the extreme and amount to incitement to violence and killing, a crime crime under international law. It is effectively a license to kill.”
“Claims to fight illicit drug trade do not absolve the Government from its international legal obligations and do not shield State actors or others from responsibility for illegal killings,” Callamard stressed.
“The State has a legally binding obligation to ensure the right to life and security of every person in the country, whether suspected of criminal offences or not.”
Reacting to the UN officials’ statements President Rodrigo Duterte launched attacks against the UN, as well as his other critics, the United States and the European Union.
The president then publicly announced he would invite them to visit the Philippines to investigate the series of killings of alleged drug suspects.
On Wednesday (12 Oct) Duterte stressed there was nothing illegal in threatening to kill criminals, like he belittled threats of him being charged at the International Criminal Court (ICC).
In his speech during the 115th anniversary of the Philippine Coast Guard, the President gave harsh words against human rights advocates threatening to file charges against him.
“You know, it’s about time that we change the rules here, human rights advocates threatening me with the international court from justice case. It’s stupid,” Duterte said.
He again admonished the US, the UN and the EU for criticizing his war on drugs, calling them ‘idiots’.
“These idiots, they have never realized that I’m already the President. And if there’s an issue about human rights, since you are all members of the United Nations, you go here and ventilate the issue,” he said.
And the President reiterated that he would cross-examine the human rights investigators after they have completed their probes.
“The only thing that I ask of you is to accord me the right to be heard and then, allow me some questions so that I would know that you are not keeping lies on me based on the report (of the press),” Duterte added.
*Official residence and principal workplace of the President of the Philippines