Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano has asked the United Nations for fairness while asserting the Philippines’ preparedness to the international body’s investigation on the country’s anti-illegal drugs campaign.
Speaking at the High Level Segment of the 37th Session of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva, Cayetano said the UN could send anyone to the Philippines to conduct the investigation but UN Special Rapporteur Agnes Callamard.
Callamard, according to Cayetano, has been “stripped of any credibility” to carry out the scrutiny.
“When a UN Special Rapporteur cries out, like the Queen in Alice in Wonderland, ‘First the judgment, then the trial,’ when she culls evidence only for what might support her prejudgment, he or she loses the moral high ground and is stripped of any credibility,” Cayetano told the 47-member UNHRC on Tuesday.
“All we ask for is fairness. There are 7.5 billion people in the world; send anyone except one who has already prejudged us, and who, by any measure, cannot be considered independent and more so, objective,” he also said.
Callamard, a UN Special Rapporteur for extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, has previously urged the Philippines to stop its bloody campaign against illegal drugs.
Her pronouncements earned the ire of President Rodrigo Duterte, who even threatened to slap her if she would investigate the alleged extrajudicial killings under the Duterte administration’s so-called drug war.
Malacañang has said that Callamard was “incompetent and is not impartial.”
Mr. Duterte also challenged Callamard to an open debate with him on drug abuse as pre-requisite to a UN investigation on his administration’s war on drugs.
Also on Tuesday, Malacañang rejected Iceland Foreign Minister Gudlaugur thor Thordarson’s call for the Philippines to allow Callamard to conduct the investigation on the country’s anti-illegal drugs drive.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the Duterte administration is open to the UN scrutiny but maintained Callamard should not spearhead such investigation.
In May 2017, Callamard visited the Philippines to attend an academic conference on the war on drugs but Malacañang said she failed to inform the government of her visit. /kga