Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque (Photo by JOAN BONDOC / Philippine Daily Inquirer)
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque expressed his dismay on Sunday after leftist human rights group Karapatan wrote two separate letters addressed to the United Nations rapporteurs Agnes Callamard and Michel Forst, baring 25 new cases of alleged extrajudicial killings.
“We find it unfortunate that human rights group advocate Karapatan wrote two separate letters to the United Nations, specifically to UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings Agnes Callamard and UN special rapporteur on human rights defenders Michel Forst, in connection with alleged cases of extrajudicial killings (EJKs) in the Philippines,” Roque said in a statement.
According to the statement, it is the state, not the UN, who is bound to investigate alleged cases of EJK. Karapatan, said Roque, could make use of all “domestic remedial mechanisms.”
“The pillars of the criminal justice system in the Philippines remain to be effective and our legal processes are well-functioning,” he said. “We therefore hope that they will file their complaints in the proper courts not before the so-called human rights rapporteurs who have politicized views of the Philippines’ campaign against illegal drugs.”
The spokesperson also said with certainty that the cases filed woud not prosper in the UN.
“It is the political mileage they are after in pursuit of their continued intent to malign this administration, through the special rapporteurs who only seem too willing to act based on fake political information,” he said.
“Let Karapatan be reminded that there is an inter-agency committee, known as AO 35 Committee, created precisely for such purpose which is chaired by the secretary of Justice,” Roque added.
The EJK cases filed involved activists, mostly members of local peasant organizations in Mindanao. /atm
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