‘Tone down’ reports? Stop the killings – UN expert

Paterno Esmaquel II
‘Tone down’ reports? Stop the killings – UN expert
This comes after Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo appealed to Vice President Leni Robredo and the media to 'tone down' their reporting of extrajudicial killings

MANILA, Philippines – United Nations (UN) expert Agnes Callamard challenged Philippine Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo to ask the Duterte administration to stop extrajudicial killings (EJKs) in the Philippines. 

Callamard issued this call after Teo appealed to Vice President Leni Robredo and the media to “tone down” their reporting of EJKs. 

In a tweet on Wednesday, March 22, Callamard said, “#Philippines tourism chief asks media to town down #EJK reports! She should ask gov. & police to #StopEJK.”

Callamard is the UN’s special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions, connected with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Before Callamard issued her message, Teo aired a message for Robredo and the media: “Medyo i-tone down natin ‘yung EJK.” (Let’s tone down on EJKs.) 

She explained that she is “always asked” wherever she goes, in Asia and in Europe, “Totoo ba ito?” (Is this true?) She “would say it’s safe in the Philippines,” and “would always ask them to come.”

The Philippine government earlier invited Callamard to investigate the killings in the country, provided that Callamard is willing to debate with President Rodrigo Duterte. 

Callamard, however, insisted on “freedom of inquiry and movement, and non-retaliation” based on existing protocols.  

More than 7,000 people have died in drug-related killings since Duterte took office. 

The European Parliament recently warned that the Philippines could lose trade incentives because of these killings. But one of Duterte’s Cabinet officials, Interior Secretary Ismael Sueno, instead blamed Vice President Leni Robredo and other critics of the drug war, saying they were tarnishing the country’s reputation. – Rappler.com

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Paterno Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He obtained his MA Journalism degree from Ateneo and later finished MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at pat.esmaquel@rappler.com.