Human rights official tells government to welcome UNHRC investigation

Published July 16, 2019, 6:38 PM

by CJ Juntereal

By Joseph Jubelag

GENERAL SANTOS CITY– Commissioner Gwendolyn Pimentel-Gana of the Commission on Human Rights said the government should not be perturbed by the move of the United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) to investigate cases of extra-judicial killings brought about by the war on illegal drugs launched by the Duterte administration.

Commission on Human Rights (MANILA BULLETIN)
Commission on Human Rights (MANILA BULLETIN)

In an interview over a local radio station here on Tuesday, Gana said the government should instead welcome the move of the UNHRC to investigate alleged EJKs resulting from the drug war launched by President Rodrigo Duterte since he assumed office in 2016.

She said the supposed UNHRC investigation should be an opportunity of the government to tell the United Nations that there is no such human rights violation in the implementation of government’s illegal drugs war.

Gana stressed the ball is now in the hands of the government to prove that there were no human rights violations  that were committed during the anti-drug campaign launched by the Duterte administration..

“The government should not be worried by the UNHRC investigation if it can justify that the judicial institutions in the country are accessible to those drug suspects who were arbitrarily affected by the anti-drug campaign,” Gana said.

She scored the Duterte administration’s reaction to sever diplomatic ties with Iceland which initiated the passage of the UNHRC probe, describing such action as an act of immaturity since the Philippines is a member of the United Nations.

Gana said what the government can do is to prove and tell Iceland that the allegation of EJKs in the country was not true as these were properly investigated by concerned government agencies.

However, the CHR official lamented the inaction of the Philippine National Police to provide the Commission with the reports and records of anti-drug operations it conducted since the start of the drug war in 2016.

She said the CHR had been requesting the PNP to submit its reports and records surrounding the more than 150,000 anti-drug operations conducted nationwide from 2016 to 2019.

“The PNP Hierarchy did not heed our request citing the directive of the Solicitor General who prevailed [over] the release of the reports and documents,” Gana said.