Reprising his role as a subversive, former coup plotter Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV called on members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to defy President Duterte’s orders not to cooperate with United Nations (UN)-sanctioned probe on his war on drugs.
By defying Duterte’s order, the senator reasoned, they will be spared from facing possible charges in the future.
“That’s an illegal order so that would make them liable for certain administrative and criminal sanctions later on, once (President) Duterte is out of power,” he said in a text message to reporters.
The senator, a staunch critic of the President, was reacting to reports on Duterte’s order to members of the PNP and AFP not to answer questions from any special rapporteur who will conduct an investigation on the government’s war on drugs.
Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque earlier said that the administration is open to any investigation by the UN but not through Callamard who he claimed is unfit to carry out an objective and unbiased inquiry given her earlier statements against the government’s anti-drug campaign.
Such pronouncements issued by Duterte is already “a clear sign of guilt,” Trillanes said.
“Also, it doesn’t matter anyway since most of the witnesses are not policemen or soldiers,” he said. Don’t eff with me — Rody
Mr. Duterte said last Thursday he would not cooperate with UN investigators looking into extrajudicial killings under his rule, telling police and soldiers not to cooperate with any probe.
Duterte’s angry reaction came after his government said it was willing to accept a visit from a UN Special Rapporteur to look into the rash of killings under Duterte’s deadly anti-drug war.
“When the human rights or whoever is that rapporteur arrives, my order to you is, do not answer… Who are they and who are you to interfere in the way I would run my country?” he told a gathering of police and military.
“If they ask you about wrongdoing, do not answer. And if they ask you why, tell them: we have a commander in chief,” who they should speak to, he said.
“You’re investigating us, fact finding? Well sorry, do not fuck with me,” he said, referring to the rapporteur.
The country’s human rights record was raised at a UN Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva late February with Iceland Foreign Minister Gudlaugur Thor Thordarson urging Manila on Monday to accept a visit from the UN Special Rapporteur.
Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano later told the council that Manila was ready to cooperate, but also said the investigators should be fair and not “weaponize” human rights.
Duterte, who still enjoys wide popularity despite the concerns of rights activists, has previously rejected any call to investigate his rights record.
In his speech, he told a crowd of camouflage-garbed government troops, “it is not easy to run a government that is democratic”.
Leila pummels Alan
Senator Leila de Lima, meanwhile, scoffed at Cayetano, labeling him as the international spokesperson for a death squad government, for continuously defending the Duterte administration from charges of summary killings due to the war on drugs campaign.
De Lima scored Cayetano for telling the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), during a recent speaking engagement in Geneva, not to “politicize or weaponize” the issue of human rights in the Philippines saying that doublespeak will not work especially before any international investigating body.
“While their propaganda and fake news might work with the followers of Mocha Uson and DDS fanatics, they are fooling themselves if they think they can pull off the same doublespeak before UN country members of the Human Rights Council in Geneva,” the senator said.
The government, according to Cayetano, is willing to face investigation amid allegations of human rights violations under the government’s drug war if UN special rapporteurs strictly observe the special procedures code of conduct and methods of work and avoid politicizing the issue.
De Lima said Cayetano cannot escape accountability for his defense of the alleged mass murder in the Philippines that has now claimed 20,322 lives according to the Philippine National Police’s (PNP) latest body count.
The senator was referring to the reported number of deaths related to the anti-drugs campaign of the administration.
“The irony in Cayetano’s propaganda to the world about the Duterte regime being a victim of ‘weaponized’ human rights advocacy is that it is precisely this propaganda that makes him (President Duterte) a candidate for prosecution in the ICC (International Criminal Court),” she said.
“Ironically again, while in the Philippines the human rights defenders are the voice in the wilderness, in the UN and the international community, it is Cayetano and the regime he represents that are the outcasts. Already, Iceland has put the motion before the UNHRC for the investigation of Duterte. On top of this is the ICC prosecutor’s conduct of its preliminary examination on the Philippine situation,” de Lima added.
Charges of crimes against humanity has been filed before the ICC by lawyer Jude Sabio as well as Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV and Magdalo party-list Rep. Gary Alejano.
The ICC, several weeks ago, announced that it has taken its first formal step in taking up the complaint against Duterte as it will now start its preliminary examination on the alleged crimes committed since July 1, 2016 in the context of the war on drugs campaign.
De Lima said that the more Cayetano defends the President and the administration before the world, the more he buries himself internationally together with his principal.
“The problem with Cayetano is that he and his media strategists, a.k.a. propagandists and spinmasters, do not distinguish between local and international audiences,” she said.
“The world is indeed getting smaller for Cayetano and his boss. And it is a world that cannot be fooled by Cayetano’s amateur propaganda. Quite the opposite. Every recording of his speeches find themselves in international archives, whether at the UN or the ICC,” de Lima further said.
The senator said the President might escape the reckoning at the ICC by virtue of an early death.
“(But) I doubt the same will be true to Cayetano. He is young and has many years ahead of him, years that will be used by the ICC to haul him off to The Hague to answer for his complicity in the deaths of thousands of civilians,” she said.
“When that time comes, Cayetano’s media strategists won’t be there to help him. It is their own spinning that will pin him. / Daily Tribune / Written by Angie M. Rosales / Saturday, 03 March 2018
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