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No one invited you, Palace tells UN official

/ 05:32 AM August 21, 2016

AFTER A United Nations rapporteur announced she would accept the challenge of a Philippine government spokesperson to come over and look into the alleged extrajudicial killing of drug suspects, Malacañang announced that it was not inviting any international body to investigate its actions.

The Philippine government has not invited the United Nations to investigate drug-related killings in the country, and President Duterte considers pronouncements from external bodies on the country’s antinarcotics drive as “unwelcome meddling” in its internal affairs, Malacañang said yesterday.

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The President’s spokesperson, Ernesto Abella, said the exchange between Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo and United Nations officials on drug-related killings in the country were “unofficial.”

On Friday, Duterte’s chief legal counsel Salvador Panelo rejected UN allegations that the government’s bloody crackdown on illegal drugs amounted to a crime under international law. Panelo said it was “recklessness” to make judgements on the Philippines when one was thousands of kilometers away and said that UN experts should “come over and see for themselves the real situation.”

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In response, UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions Agnes Callamard tweeted that she welcomed an invitation to investigate the matter, and was ready to “see for myself” the situation in the Philippines.

Yesterday, however, Abella said the “UN mouthpieces” assumed they were offered an invitation to come and investigate the spike in drug-related deaths being labeled as extrajudicial, or a license to kill freely.”

“The Philippines has not extended any invitation to anybody, nor the UN, to look into its national affairs. We are capable of our own internal dialogue,” Abella said in a statement.

President Duterte won the May elections with a landslide largely on a pledge to kill tens of thousands of criminals. The killings began days after the vote. Up to 1,500 drug suspects have been killed since the campaign began, the police reported. Although rarely armed with warrants of arrest, police have forced thousands of residents in mainly poor neighborhoods to surrender to authorities and sign confessions on drug use.

On Wednesday, Duterte hit out at “stupid” UN criticism over the crackdown, warning the global body not to interfere. With an AFP report/TVJ

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TAGS: Agnes Callamard, Duterte administration, extra-judicial killings, United Nations
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