PH has the right to deny entry of UNHRC investigators – Gordon

By Mario Casayuran

Senator Richard J. Gordon, chairman of the Senate Justice and Human Rights Committee in the 17th Congress, on Saturday said the Philippines can refuse the entry of United Nations investigators who might be sent to check on alleged human rights violations against its own citizens.

Senator Richard Gordon (CZAR DANCEL / MANILA BULLETIN)
Senator Richard Gordon

“We are a sovereign country. We have our criminal justice system. Kung ayaw na natin maging demokrasya at kahit sino pwede na mag imbestiga, itigil na natin pagiging democratic natin (We can stop being democratic if we allow just about anybody to come into the country and conduct his or her probe),” Gordon said during a DWIZ radio interview on Saturday.

“Ako ha, di ako papayag na kung sinu-sino lang ang pumasok (I will not allow anyone to come into the country). We will look stupid,” he said, referring to UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) investigators.

Gordon stressed that the country has its own Commission on Human Rights (CHR) and Congress has conducted its hearing in the presence of CHR people.

He lamented that the UNHRC only takes action against smaller nations and shove them around but is a “softie’’ in the case of big nations like the US.

Gordon said the Iceland-sponsored resolution seeking a UNHRC investigation on alleged widespread human rights abuses in the Philippines did not get a majority vote.

READ MORE: UNHRC adopts Iceland’s resolution by a slim margin of votes

And since it was not a popular resolution, Gordon said the Duterte administration has the option to reject a UN probe.

Like any other sovereign country, the Philippines has the right to bar the entry of anyone, Gordon said.

He cited the recent case of former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario who was barred entry into Hong Kong by its immigration officials.

Gordon thus joined Senator Panfilo M. Lacson, a former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, who said there is no need for the UNHRC to send a representative or its probe team to the Philippines.

READ MORE: PH can manage without intervention of UNHRC – Lacson

“We have a functioning criminal justice system that deals adequately with erring law enforcers,” Lacson said.

“We regularly provide our Commission on Human Rights the budget they need to perform their mandate,” he stressed.

“Obviously, we can manage without the intervention of the UN Human Rights Council,” he added.

Gordon also advised neophyte Senator Roland Dela Rosa to be careful when issuing statements.

“Be careful with what you wish for,” he said after Dela Rosa vowed to cut his neck on alleged State-sponsored extra-judicial killings (EJKs) in the Philippines.

“Magpakapugot ka ng ulo kong ma-prove yan (You ought to have yourself beheaded if it is prove),” Gordon said of Dela Rosa’s vow to cut his own neck if UNHRC may prove that there are state-sponsored EJKs in the Duterte administration’s bloody anti-illegal drugs campaign.

READ MORE: Prove EJKs, I’ll let you cut my head off – Bato to UNHRC

On Dela Rosa hinting that he might conduct a probe in the Senate on EJKs, Gordon said this is Dela Rosa’s privilege as a senator.

“But I just want to remind him, tulad ng statement niya sh*t happens. baka biruin siya na you are full of sh*t. Binibiro ko lang pero ibig kong sabihin you are now a senator, you are no longer a police, dapat maipakita niya ang tiwala ng tao (People might kid him as ‘full of shit’ over his statement that ‘sh*t happens’ when some innocent person is killed during police anti-drug campaigns. Being a senator, you should try to win the people’s trust),” Gordon said.