Palace open to UN probe on drug war but not conducted by Callamard
“Definitely not Agnes.”
Malacañang on Tuesday said it was open to an investigation by the United Nations (UN) on the alleged extrajudicial killings the Philippines but maintained that it should not be conducted by special rapporteur Agnes Callamard.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made the statement after Iceland Foreign Minister Gudlaugur thor Thordarson, during the 37th regular session of the Human Rights Council, called on the Philippines to allow Callamard to conduct an investigation in the Philippines on its controversial war on drugs.
“To those familiar with the special rapporteur system, all investigations must be consented to by state parties. And there is no one that can compel a state party to allow an investigation if it does not want to do so,” Roque said in a Palace briefing.
The Palace official, however, said the Philippines won’t heed the call of the Iceland foreign minister.
“Of course, the statement of the Iceland ambassador is an expression of his home state but it is an expression that we don’t have to heed,” he said.
He maintained that the Philippine government would only allow a “credible” rapporteur to conduct an investigation in the country.
“Again if they are going to send a special rapporteur to the Philippines, it must be someone credible, someone who is an authority in the field that seek to investigate in and must be objective and unbiased,” he said.
Roque, who is also the presidential adviser on human rights, said he would recommend a UN special rapporteur to do a probe in the Philippines.
“I’m about to make a recommendation as a presidential adviser on human rights, there is at least one rapporteur that I will recommend be allowed to conduct an investigation, but I can’t divulge for now which rapporteur this is,” he said.
He said it was the fault of Callamard why she was not allowed to conduct an investigation in the Philippines.
“As I have said before, it is her fault that the home state does not want her in. Part of the qualification of a special rapporteur is to be trustworthy enough so that a member nation of the UN will allow a UN rapporteur to investigate,” he said.
“The fact that there is no way that Agnes Callamard can be allowed to investigate in the Philippines proves that she has failed in this regard,” he added.
The effectivity of the special rapporteur, he said, depends on their character, credibility, and trustworthiness.
Callamard has earned the ire of President Rodrigo Duterte for her criticisms on his administrations’ bloody campaign against illegal drugs.
Duterte had earlier said he would allow Callamard to conduct an investigation in the country but with conditions. /je
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