Malacañang tells EU Parliament to be prudent in issuing resolutions
MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang decried as "interference" the European Parliament's latest resolution calling for a stop to alleged extrajudicial killings in the Philippines and called on the body to be more careful in issuing resolutions.
"We thus call on members of the European Parliament to exercise prudence in issuing resolutions," Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said in a news briefing on Friday, April 20.
He hinted that European lawmakers might have been persuaded by Filipino politicians from the opposition to initiate the resolution.
"We understand that a number of whom have close ties with the local political opposition who try to distort realities that we have a working democracy where people have enjoyed peace and order," said Roque.
Duterte's spokesman also said the lawmakers should use mechanisms like the Philippine-European Partnership Communication Agreement so there can be "constructive discussions" on issues they want to raise.
Malacañang also found it "inconsistent" that the Parliament should oppose the campaign against illegal drugs when the European Union has provided assistance for it.
Roque did not elaborate on the type of assistance given. In March, the EU gave P242 million (3.8 million euros) to the Philippines for drug rehabilitation centers and not law enforcement operations against illegal drugs. The Palace had thanked the EU for the assistance which came "with no strings attached."
'Where are the corpses?'
Roque again called the EU resolution a form of interference into domestic affairs.
"Members of the European Parliament once again interfered with the affairs of the Philippine state, rehashing issues and claims that have been explained adequately by the Philippine government in several official statements," he said.
He also disputed the "12,000" figure used by members of the European Parliament as the number of deaths being linked to Duterte's anti-drugs campaign.
"Ang sabi nila, 12,000 na po ang namatay. Na saan na po yung mga bangkay? At na saan po yung mga demanda ng mga 12,000 victims?" said Roque.
(They said, 12,000 have died. Where are the corpses? Where are the lawsuits filed by the 12,000 victims?)
The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency had said that over 4,000 people have been killed in legitimate anti-drug operations since Duterte assumed office, or in less than two years.
Human rights groups have pointed out that a majority of those being killed in the police operations are poor Filipinos. Duterte has admitted as much, often saying that most shabu users are impoverished Filipinos, hence it is only logical that many who have died belong to this socio-economic class.
"Impunity does not have a place in our society and we continue to follow due process and hold officers accountable for their actions," Roque said at the Palace briefing.
On De Lima, Tauli-Corpuz
Duterte's spokesman also defended the legality of the arrest of Senator Leila de Lima, which is among the government's actions that the European Parliament assailed.
He said De Lima's arrest followed legal procedures and "has even been declared legal with finality by the Supreme Court." De Lima and her supporters in and out of the country have repeatedly asserted that she was jailed to silence her, being a staunch critic of Duterte.
Roque emphasized that the executive branch does not interfere with the decisions of the judiciary, noting that the number of Duterte's Supreme Court appointees are still in the minority.
The European Parliament also condemned the inclusion of United Nations Special Rapporteur Victoria Tauli-Corpuz in a list of persons the government wants legally tagged as terrorists.
Roque responded by saying Tauli-Corpuz's inclusion was based on "intelligence information." Tauli-Corpuz, he said, has not been deprived of due process as she can question her inclusion in the list before the court.
"She is being given the opportunity to be heard, to submit evidence that she is not a terrorist and let us allow the judiciary to make the decision but it's not for foreign lawmakers to ask that she be taken out because we have laws," he said. – Rappler.com