Duterte gov't, UN must 'agree' on terms of drug war probe – DFA
MANILA, Philippines – The Duterte administration and the United Nations must come to a "mutual agreement" on the details of the UN's visit to investigate extrajudicial killings.
This was explained by Foreign Affairs spokesman Assistant Secretary Charles Jose to dispel suspicions that the Duterte government will dictate over or restrict the UN team's investigation.
"It's not a one-way street. There's a two-way discussion. Both sides have to agree to these terms of reference," said Jose on Monday, September 26, during a Palace press briefing.
President Rodrigo Duterte previously invited the UN and European Union officials to travel to the Philippines to themselves investigate his drug war and the supposed extrajudicial killings linked to it.
Jose said while no letter from Malacañang has been transmitted to the Department of Foreign Affairs, protocol dictates that the Philippine government and UN discuss the details of the trip together.
The UN will be able to make suggestions.
"The rapporteurs can suggest places they want to visit, people they'd like to talk to. The UN country team can arrange those visits for them but it has to be by mutual agreement," said Jose.
Any possible limitations to be imposed by the Philippine government have more to do with safety issues than censorship, he added.
"Among the concerns of the government is the safety of the investigating team so we have to be sure that the places they will visit will be safe," said Jose.
Duterte's demand that he be able to ask questions to the officials in a public event will be included in the visit's terms of reference.
"'That's what the President wants so I think we are including that in the terms of reference," said Jose.
So far, the UN team's visit to the Philippines has not yet been finalized. Jose refuted media reports claiming an 18-man team from the UN will be in Manila from September 28 to 29.
He said the review of the Philippines by the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights is a meeting that will take place in Geneva, Switzerland, not in Manila, and that it has "nothing to do with so-called EJKs (extrajudicial killings)." – Rappler.com