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Leila questions gov’t move to limit UN probe

Sen. Leila M. de Lima yesterday questioned the Duterte administration’s move to limit the movements of the 18-man team of the United Nations Special Rapporteur that would visit the Philippines to investigate the alleged extra judicial killings.

“What kind of investigation can we expect if the government is going to decide how the investigation is going to be conducted by UN rapporteur’s team?” De Lima said in a statement.

De Lima filed a Senate resolution asking the Duterte administration, through the Department of Foreign Affairs, to send a formal invitation to United Nations Special Rapporteur on summary executions Agnes Callamard to look into the phenomenon of extrajudicial killings in the country amid the government’s campaign against illegal drugs.

The senator said she believes a third-party investigator should come in order to ferret out the whole truth behind the killings and to serve complete justice to the victims and the Filipino people.

President Duterte accepted the challenge and announced his invitation to the UN special rapporteur to investigate the extrajudicial killings in the country.

However, De Lima said she finds the move questionable as the government limited the places the UN team would be allowed to visit.

“While it is within the prerogative of the Philippine government as the host country, through the DFA, to set reasonable parameters for the visit of the UN special rapporteurs and other UN probers, I find questionable the announced rule that it is the government that will decide the places to be visited and the persons to be interviewed by these probers,” she said.

“Under any standards, an investigation under such constraints can no longer be deemed independent. Protocol does not mean censorship and control over the ability of the UN team to conduct an independent, credible and exhaustive probe,” she said. (Hannah L. Torregoza)