MANILA — The Philippine government will never allow to be dictated by foreign entities on how it manages its internal affairs, Malacañang said Friday amid concerns raised by 39 member states of the United Nations regarding the number of deaths in the country’s war against drugs.
In a joint statement released Thursday, the Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (Forum-Asia) urged the Philippine government to probe the killings and “cooperate with the international community to pursue appropriate investigations into these incidents, in keeping with the universal principles of democratic accountability and the rule of law.”
The 39 countries that signed the joint statement were Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Moldova, Montenegro, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands, UK, Ukraine, and United States.
“While it is true that 39 countries have expressed concern over drug-related killings, the fact remains that the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), the highest peer review body in the world on all matters of human rights, unanimously accepted and commended the Outcome Report on the Philippines’ Universal Periodic Review (UPR),” Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said in a statement.
The Palace official maintained that there is no culture of impunity in the Philippines and that the government is investigating all allegations of human rights violations in the crackdown on illegal drugs.
“Unfortunately, it still appears that some parties refuse to understand certain aspects of our human rights efforts. So let us be clear. There is no culture of impunity in the Philippines. The State is investigating all credible allegations of human rights violations by all its agents and will continue to do so, consistent with our Constitution and laws, and in compliance with the spirit of our national traditions of liberty and democracy,” Abella said.
He also slammed critics who accuse the government of sanctioning extrajudicial killings (EJKs), saying they must first prove their allegations in a competent court.
“The truth is, our justice system does not tolerate any state-sponsored extrajudicial killings. All these accusations of EJKs and circumventing police procedures should be proven in a competent court and, if found meritorious, should result in appropriate sanctions against the perpetrators. Failing these, such claims are mere hearsay,” Abella said.
“Rest assured that we will be unswerving in carrying out our duty to protect our people from the scourges of drugs, corruption and criminality so that with inclusive development and social justice, they may attain lives of dignity in a prosperous nation. To achieve these ends, we will always be happy to accept the help of our foreign friends. But we will never accept dictation on how we are managing our own internal domestic processes,” he added.