Callamard still welcome in PH as tourist: Palace

MANILA -- United Nations (UN) special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings Agnes Callamard is still welcome to visit the Philippines as a tourist, MalacaAang assured Saturday.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, however, said that although Callamard was still welcome to visit the Philippines she should not make it appear that her visit was done as part of investigation.

Welcome po siya dahil after all we welcome all tourists. Kaya lang, ang masama dun, wag niya palalabasin na nag imbestiga siya kasi ang pagpasok sa Pilipinas hindi naman yan katumbas ng pagi-imbestiga (She is welcome because we welcome all tourists. But she should not make it appear that she is investigating when she visits because visiting the Philippines is not equivalent to investigating), Roque said in a briefing in Zamboanga del Norte.

Roque, presidential adviser on human rights, said that Callamard should not claim that her visit was done as investigation but merely her observation as tourist.

Kaya kung siya ay papasok, sabihin niya na nagkaroon siya ng obserbasyon bilang turista (That's why if she comes here, she should say that she simply made an observation as tourist), he added.

Biased

Roque earlier said that the Palace does not consider Callamard persona non grata despite its opposition for her to investigate the Duterte administration's campaign against illegal drugs.

He also maintained that Callamard had no more credibility to investigate since she has concluded, during her visit to the Philippines in May 2017, that the drug war would worsen the problem.

Callard, who came at the invitation of a group critical of Duterte, did not inform the government of her visit.

Roque said the Palace is open to the UN investigation but maintained that any representative except Callamard should lead the investigation.

Bakit ka nga naman makikipag tulungan sa isang rapporteur na meron na siyang konklusyon at ang kinakailangan na lang niya e ilang bagay para masuprotahan ang kanyang konklusyon? (Why should be coordinate with a rapporteur that alreayd as a conclusion and would only need a few things to support the conclusion?), Roque said.

He added that the government was only willing to coordinate with rapporteurs that have not prejudged the drug war yet.

Maikipagtulungan lang tayo dun sa mga tao na wala pang konklusyon at meron pong katapatan na talagang magiimbestiga bago magkaroon ng konklusyon (We will only cooperate with people who have not made conclusions yet and vow to investigate first before arriving at a conclusion), he added.

Roque also reiterated that the aggressive drug war was legal as the President, a lawyer himself, respects the Constitution.

Lahat ng patayan nangayari sa ongoing drug on war ay dahil yan po ay legal na patayan at nang may mga ilegal na patayan talagang inoorder ni Presidente na litisin at parusahan ng ating mga kapulisan (All the killings in the ongoing drug war are legal and if there are illegal killings, the President orders those policemen prosecuted and punished), Roque said. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency