MANILA-- MalacaAang on Friday called on the European Union (EU) to recognize the sovereignty of the Philippines as it strongly urge the body to base their conclusions on fact-based evidence.
In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said that as a sovereign state, the Philippines should be allowed to deal with its domestic affairs, free from foreign interference.
"We remind everyone, including international bodies, to allow us to deal with our domestic challenges without unwarranted foreign interference. While some may feel a 'sovereign obligation' to step into the affairs of another state, it is vital to recognize that the Philippines is a sovereign state," Abella said.
At the same time, the Palace official urged the EU to reconsider its earlier pronouncements, saying that administration critics who have been threatened with President Rodrigo Duterte's war on drugs, corruption and criminality have been bending the truth for their own ends.
"We strongly encourage the European Union to be more circumspect in basing their pronouncements and decisions on fact-based evidence. So-called critics, with deep personal interests, have brilliantly manipulated biased information locally and internationally by using willing public officials who are agreeable to lend credence to baseless claims," Abella said.
Abella's statements came in the wake of an EU Parliament resolution calling for the immediate release of Sen. Leila de Lima, to drop all politically motivated charges against her and to end any further acts of harassment against her.
The same resolution also called on Philippine officials to "immediately halt ongoing proceedings to reinstate the death penalty."
The EU Parliament has also condemned alleged high number of extra-judicial killings (EJKs) related to the administration's anti-drug campaign.
However, Abella stressed anew that the Duterte administration does not engage in so-called EJKs.
"It (administration) continues to follow due process and holds itself accountable for its actions," he said.
He also pointed out that De Lima was arrested on charges that is criminal nature -- not political.
"Her arrest strictly followed legal procedures, and given the chance to explain and rebut allegations against her. The Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court -- which is both independent and competent -- then found probable cause which led to the issuance of a warrant for the incumbent senator's arrest," Abella said.
He also pointed out that majority of the common people actually feel safer on the streets and more hopeful economically after Duterte came into power -- in direct contradiction to Vice President Leni Robredo's claims that are contained in a video sent to the United Nations (UN).
In a message shown Thursday at the annual meeting of the UN Commission on Drugs in Geneva, Robredo challenged President Duterte's crackdown, describing the killings as "summary executions" and said that Filipinos were "hopeless and helpless."
Abella said that while the President previously ruled out Robredo's involvement in any destabilization attempts against him, the vice president may have played into the hands of those who wish to use her as a political animal.
"It is unfortunate that certain powerful interests have gained the capacity to distort Philippine reality in order to gain back and continue with their extractive politics, being threatened by the creative disruption of President Duterte's political actions," he said.
"The people welcome the newfound peace and order they now enjoy. Our democracy works," Abella said.
Source: Philippines News Agency