MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Leni Robredo questioned the Duterte administration's move to reject an independent United Nations (UN) probe into alleged human rights violations in the country.
In her radio show on Sunday, June 9, Robredo said the Philippine government should have no problems with the probe if it did not commit any wrongdoing.
"Kung totoo na walang human rights violations dito, bakit sasalungatin natin iyong imbestigasyon?... Kapag hinaharang natin, hindi ba parang lalong nakakadagdag sa pagdududa? Bakit mo haharangin kung wala ka namang 'tinatago?" said the Vice President.
(If it's true that there are no human rights violations here, why would we oppose the investigation?... If we block it, doesn't that add to their suspicions? Why would you block it if you have nothing to hide?)
Robredo said the Duterte administration should even "welcome" the probe as a chance to prove to the international community that it is innocent.
"Kapag gumawa sila ng imbestigasyon at wala naman silang nakita, hindi ba parang affirmation iyon na tama iyong sinasabi natin?... Kaya kung ako, papadaliin ko pa iyong trabaho nila," she said.
(If they conduct an investigation and find nothing, wouldn't that be an affirmation that the Duterte administration is telling the truth?... That's why if I were them, I would even make the investigators' jobs easier.)
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo had slammed 11 UN special rapporteurs for calling for an independent probe, saying their appeal is "an outrageous interference on Philippine sovereignty."
The UN special rapporteurs, among them Agnes Callamard, said they have recorded a "staggering number of unlawful deaths and police killings" in President Rodrigo Duterte's anti-drug campaign, as well as "killings of human rights defenders."