The Philippines has condemned the resolution made by the European Parliament on the country’s human rights situation, saying it is a “misguided attempt” to interfere in the national electoral process.
In a statement on Sunday, Feb. 20, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said the resolution, which called on the Philippines to end red-tagging and killings, has raised “already discredited allegations of human rights violations.”
“The allegations raised in the Resolution are unfair, largely baseless, prompted by European supporters of libelous journalists and bitter critics of the current administration because they miserably lost the previous election,” the DFA said.
“The Resolution is based on a deliberately falsified impression of the actual human rights situation in the country. The Resolution is presumptuous given the historical record of its main proponents,” it added.
The Foreign Affairs department stressed that the Philippines is a vibrant democracy that respects and protects the freedoms of every citizen and upholds all their rights.
It also pointed out that the allegations were already addressed by the landmark UN Joint Program (UNJP) for Human Rights, covering alleged cases of extrajudicial killings involving militants and trade union leaders, and deaths arising from the anti-illegal drug campaign to avert the fate of Central America.
“The Philippine justice system continues to ensure a safe and enabling civic space for civil society of all stripes including human rights defenders,” the DFA said.
“We therefore strongly advise EU Parliament Vice President Heidi Hautala to prove her information, specifically with the EU Delegation to the Philippines before she demands anything from the Philippines. Her disrespectful language disregards these ongoing efforts of the Philippines and the United Nations, and the mechanisms and processes that inform their joint efforts to advance human rights,” it added.
The DFA further stated, “We advise European Parliamentarians to listen to more respectable sources than the militant front organizations masquerading as legitimate civil society organizations; the usual disgruntled members of a forlorn political opposition who clearly do not represent the majority of the Philippine electorate; and journalists who have a clear political agenda other than reporting the news in a fair and accurate manner.”
The DFA also said that the passing of such resolution “is a clear attempt to influence the outcome of our coming elections in May instead of accepting the sovereign will of the Filipino people as manifested in the previous elections.”
The fresh resolution was issued on Feb. 16 where the European Parliament reiterated its call to the Philippines to “immediately end all violence and human rights violations targeting suspected drug offenders, including unlawful killings, arbitrary arrests, acts of torture and other abuses, and to disband private and state-backed paramilitary groups involved in the ‘war on drugs’.
The resolution also condemned all threats, harassment, intimidation and violence against those seeking to expose allegations of extrajudicial killings and other human rights abuses in the country; denounced government officials’ practice of ‘red-tagging’ activists, journalists and critics, exposing them to potential harm and called for the abolition of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).
It also called on the Philippines to order the immediate release of Senator Leila de Lima, and called on authorities to respect freedom of expression and to ensure that journalists can do their work without fear.
The resolution also condemned President Duterte’s “demeaning, sexist and misogynist statements about women and people who identify as belonging to the LGBTIQ+ community and urges him to refrain from inciting violence against them.”