PH envoy to Human Rights Council corrects UN High Commissioner’s report on the Philippines

Ambassador Cecilia B. Rebong, the Philippines' Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva, corrected the report delivered by the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mr. Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein. She stated that President Rodrigo Duterte has never empowered police officers to "shoot to kill" any individual whom they claim to suspect of drug crimes. What he said was the police have the right to defend themselves when their lives are endangered when drug suspects violently resist arrest.

Delivering the Philippine statement on the second day of the 33rd Session of the Human Rights Council in response to Mr. Al Hussein's report, Ambassador Rebong emphasized that the ongoing campaign against illegal drugs, which has the overwhelming support of the Filipino public, is "being waged under the leadership and direction of President Rodrigo Duterte, with a firm adherence to the rule of law, due process, and human rights principles."

She noted that while the President launched an anti-illegal drug war unparalleled in Philippine history for its level of tenacity, the Chief Executive, in his inaugural speech, affirmed in no vague language his respect for human rights and the rule of law. She pointed out that President Duterte has, in fact, urged civil rights organizations (NGOs and CSOs) to report any killings which are not in accordance with his pronouncements on the anti-illegal drug campaign.

The Philippine statement also stressed that the spike in the figures on the killings in the Philippines includes deaths resulting from legitimate police operations, killings carried out by vigilante elements, and drug syndicates undertaking a purge among their ranks. It cited that the government is investigating these killings committed by vigilante groups and drug syndicates, and is committed to bring the perpetrators to justice.

Ambassador Rebong pointed out that the Philippines denounces and does not resort to extra-judicial or arbitrary executions, and is gravely concerned about accusations purporting that the administration tolerates such actions. She emphasized that "police authorities take seriously allegations of its officers' involvement in such activities, and follow established internal procedures for investigating and addressing such cases."

In closing, Ambassador Rebong asked the international community to support the Philippine campaign against illegal drugs and the government's firm resolve "to pursue the anti-illegal drugs war and to build communities conducive to the full realization of every Filipino's right to live in peace and attain a higher standard of living that uplifts human dignity, unhindered by the scourge of illegal drugs."

Source: Philippine Information Agency