The best advice the government could get in connection with the resolution of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to investigate the alleged extra-judicial killings of suspects in the illegal drugs campaign is that given by Sen. Panfilo Lacson, a former Philippine National Police chief.
According to the senator the government can just give the UNHRC a copy of a comprehensive report on its illegal drugs campaign especially figures of deaths and apprehensions resulting from the police campaign, and those that the government believes deaths perpetrated by rival drug syndicates and in purging of their own ranks.
Lacson also suggested that the government include in the report the “corrective and remedial measures” it is undertaking to address the problem. The former national police chief turned lawmaker however, suggested that the Duterte administration should not let a UNHRC probe team in the country.
This second aspect of the senator’s advice is in accord with the position of government not to allow UNHRC investigating team into the country with the President even threatening to have the probers arrested once they set foot in Philippines soil.
Even as Malacanang slammed the resolution claiming that it was based on “false information” and “bogus news” Lacson said that the government should not just ignore it as it is still a “democratic vote” by members of a UN body.
Lacson also cautioned the government from using as shield against the planned UNHRC probe its claim of interference in the internal affairs of a sovereign state. It could boomerang since the UN body can raise the same issue on the government’s handling of the alleged China’s intrusion on Philippine territorial waters.
We believe the Duterte government must heed the senator’s advice. Doing the Lacson recommendation will obviate any backlash from moves of the government to ignore the resolution and cut ties with countries who voted in its favor.
Yes, let the UNHRC disagree with our government’s comprehensive report on the illegal drugs campaign. Let them come up with recommendations that may include sanctions against the Philippine government under Duterte. Let the UN in general adopt or reject the rights body’s recommendations. If the UN adopts whatever punitive action suggested, let it be its problem to enforce it.
This time, we believe, the Philippine government has every right to demand respect of its independence as a nation.
Funny, the country members of the UNHRC who voted to have the alleged human rights violations of not just suspects but very well-known by the community as engaged in the illegal drugs trade or committing crimes as a consequence of their addiction, seem to “see the trees and not the forest” in their desire to be the world’s policemen.
Why haven’t they seen Mexico, Colombia, and other Central and South American countries whose governments are also helpless in fighting the illegal drugs trade? Have they not read or heard reports that those countries politicians are alleged to be creation of drug money and their economies aided by income of drug cartels?
Why have they not passed resolutions to have the massive and glaring human rights violations in Syria, Iraq, Libya and other Middle Eastern countries investigated? Is it because the government perpetrators are backed by their idol countries like the US, Russia, England, Canada and Australia? And all the more that these countries cannot afford to call for an investigation on China’s human rights records. They cannot bully the Asian military and economic giant that can even stand against the US and other western powers.
The Philippines? Well, this country is too far from where they are and hardly has any trade relations with them. So, the UNHRC resolution backers might have likely thought: Why bother respecting the sovereignty of that island nation in the Pacific.
Or, should we believe that the governments of the countries who supported the resolution to investigate the Philippines have policies of protecting the human rights of known criminals instead of the rights of law abiding citizens to a life free of threats of harm from drug-crazed individuals?