FACT CHECK: Was Robredo's UN video a basis for EU warning?
MANILA, Philippines – The Duterte administration partly blamed Vice President Leni Robredo after the European Parliament issued a resolution that "strongly condemns" extrajudicial killings in the Philippines.
Released on March 16, the EU Parliament resolution warned that the Philippines could lose trade incentives if the human rights situation in the country does not improve.
The resolution also called for the "immediate release" of detained Senator Leila de Lima, President Rodrigo Duterte's fiercest critic, who was arrested on drug charges.
On the same day, a video of Robredo was screened at a United Nations meeting in Vienna.
Was Robredo's UN video a basis for the EU threat?
Fact-checking by Rappler showed that the EU resolution did not cite Robredo's video as a basis for its warning. Neither did the EU resolution mention the name of Robredo herself.
Duterte, not Robredo, was the highest official mentioned by the EU Parliament in its resolution against extrajudicial killings in the Philippines.
Duterte's threat cited
In issuing this resolution, the EU Parliament cited factors such as the following:
- "Over 7,000 drug-related killings by the police and vigilantes" in the Philippines
- The "regular threats, harassment, intimidation, and cyberbullying" faced by human rights defenders, activists, and journalists
- Duterte having "openly threatened to kill human rights defenders"
- The House of Representatives passing the death penalty bill on 3rd and final reading
Also, the draft of this resolution was filed as early as March 15, or a day before Robredo's video was screened in Vienna.
Despite these facts, Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella said the alleged destabilization plot against Duterte "has provoked abrupt reaction and unwarranted threats from the European Union, spooked by the so-called 'rights reports' from high-handed NGOs; and a video at the UN that baselessly pillories the Philippine National Police."
On Wednesday, March 22, Interior Secretary Ismael Sueno also said Robredo's words could hurt trade agreements with the EU. – Rappler.com