Remulla to UN: ‘Trust that we know best what is good for our people’
MANILA, Philippines — “Trust that we know best what is good for our people.”
This was what Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla told participants at the United Nations Human Rights Council-Enhanced Interactive Dialogue on the Philippines held in Geneva, Switzerland on Wednesday night (Manila time).
Remulla said in his speech that the administration of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. is “undertaking transformational reform of its justices and law enforcement sectors.”
He also said that the current administration has taken on a “new pathway with a deeply human approach” to fighting crimes, particularly illegal drugs.
Marcos’ predecessor, Rodrigo Duterte, is the subject of a complaint before the International Criminal Court (ICC) for his “drug war” that, based on official police records as of May this year, claimed the lives of more than 6,000 people. Human rights groups, however, insisted that the number of people killed in the name of the war against illegal drugs is higher as it must include killings attributed to vigilantes and conflict among drug dealers.
Remulla’s speech before the UN body echoes the government’s position before the ICC that the Philippines’ judicial system is working and that reforms are being undertaken – taking account of human rights – to improve it.
“We want to inject human rights into every step of our law enforcement and judicial processes. This assures that no one is left behind and that the wheels of justice truly serve all without distinction,” the Department of Justice (DOJ) chief said.
He then mentioned the release from prison of 371 persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) as the beginning of efforts to decongest jails. He said the government targets to release 5,000 more PDLs by June next year.
He also said that a review panel has already referred to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) 302 illegal drugs cases for reexamination.
Remulla likewise noted in his speech the training of police officers to improve their investigation skills in order to increase chances for a successful prosecution.
He further mentioned the government’s goal of improving prosecution success rate for cases involving women and children from 88 percent to 96 percent.
The DOJ Secretary then assured the UN body that it will “continue to engage constructively with Member States, the UN and various stakeholders on human rights.” But he said the country’s engagement will be “within the parameters of our own reality and institutions.”
“What we ask of you, the Human Rights Council and partners is to listen to us. To understand the context of our challenges – besides us on the ground, not above us from afar,” he said.
“To trust that we know best what is good for our people and to work with us to realize the vision of human rights and justice for all,” Remulla added.
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