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Palace: Probe shows PH has nothing to hide

A Malacañang official stressed that the Duterte administration has nothing to hide from the international community, especially on President Duterte’s campaign against illegal drugs.

Presidential Communications Office Secretary Martin Andanar on Friday said that “the Duterte administration welcomes the United Nations Rapporteur on Human Rights to come over and look into the alleged human rights concerns.”

Andanar said this is “a clear manifestation that this administration has nothing to hide before the international community.”

The PCO chief, however, said there is still “no formal invitation” to the UN rapporteur to come to the Philippines to conduct a probe on the alleged extrajudicial killings even as the President had openly invited them in his speech on Thursday.

In a radio interview yesterday, Andanar said he knows “everyone is reacting to the speech of our President,” adding that: “Doon sila nagbase ng kanilang desisyon, siguro, na pumunta dito.”

But the official stressed there is a process has to be observed. There has to be a formal invitation from the Philippine government, with proper protocol channels before it becomes official, Andanar said.

The UN, according to reports, is sending an 18-man team to the Philippines September 28-29 to review the country’s compliance with its human rights obligations under the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights.

The ICESCR is a multilateral treaty adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 16, 1966, which came into force on January 3, 1976. The Philippines is one of 164 states that ratified the treaty and undergoes regular review by the committee.

“Aalamin ko sa Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) kung nasaan na sa stage ngayon ang imbitasyon para pumunta dito ang mga taga-UN at mga taga-EU,” said Andanar.

Andanar said that while the Philippine government welcomes any UN observer and will listen to what they have to say, “they should also listen to what we have to say, both in the spirit of mutual respect and out of genuine recognition of our status as a sovereign nation.”

He explained that “the all-out war against illegal drugs being waged by law enforcement is a war for national survival.”

“The drug menace has permeated the length and breadth of the country, threatening to destroy the very fabric of our society. We know that widespread drug use not only leads to other crimes, it can also turn the country into a narco state where lawlessness prevails and can set back our efforts at achieving inclusive economic growth,” he added. (Elena L. Aben)