Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III on Saturday said the Philippine government did not need United Nations (UN) special rapporteur Agnes Callamard to tell it that extrajudicial and arbitrary killings in the war on drugs must be stopped.
“Killing helpless [suspects] who are already under the custody of the police is not allowed. We don’t need Callamard to tell us. I myself will say that it is illegal and you will face charges in court under the Revised Penal Code,” Pimentel said in a radio interview yesterday.
Pimentel was reacting to a joint statement issued by UN human rights specialists urging the government to end attacks and killings carried out in the Duterte administration’s campaign against illegal drugs.
The statement was issued by Callamard, special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary and arbitrary executions, special rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders Michel Forst and special rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers Diego García-Sayán.
Defending President Rodrigo Duterte and his campaign to wipe out illegal drugs in the country, Pimentel said the government did not condone extrajudicial and summary killings.
He said the administration’s campaign was carried out as enforcement of the country’s laws against illegal drugs. In the course of enforcing antidrugs laws, policemen have the right to defend themselves if caught in a crossfire with drug suspects, he added.
But such right should not be abused and policemen who commit excesses should be brought to justice, he pointed out.
The Senate president also questioned why the UN rapporteurs were meddling with the affairs of the country. “Why are they interfering as if they have already established that those killed were helpless people or who were not resisting authorities,” asked Pimentel.
Reviewing the previous statements of Callamard, he also pointed out that the UN official appeared to be judgmental and quick to jump to conclusions “as if she was here and she has investigated these incidents.”
“Some people are doubting her intentions, that she has political agenda. But the country’s politics must be determined only by Filipinos,” said Pimentel.