Posts Tagged ‘ICC’

Israel should be brought before ICC for massacre of Palestinians, Turkey’s FM Çavuşoğlu says

May 17, 2018

Israel’s massacre of Palestinians should be brought before the International Criminal Court (ICC), Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said Thursday.

Speaking in an interview with state-broadcaster TRT Haber, Çavuşoğlu also said that an independent commission needs to prepare a report on the violence in Gaza and that Israel needs to stand before the law.

Turkey wants the United Nations General Assembly to pass a motion regarding Jerusalem, Çavuşoğlu said.

Image result for Çavuşoğlu, photos

Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu

Israeli troops shot dead at least 63 Palestinian protesters on the Gaza border on Monday as the United States opened its embassy in Jerusalem.

The main reason for the June 4 meeting with U.S. Secretary State Pompeo in Washington D.C. is the roadmap for northern Syria’s Manbij, Çavuşoğlu said.

There is a pre-agreement on the issue but there has been a loss of time for the approval, he added.

Despite Turkey’s objections, the People’s Protection Forces (YPG), the armed wing of the PKK terrorist group’s Syrian offshoot Democratic Unity Party (PYD), moved to capture Manbij in August 2016, shortly ahead of Turkey’s Operation Euphrates Shield launched on Aug. 24, 2016, to drive Daesh terrorists away from its border areas and deny the YPG the chance to expand further west.

The YPG is the dominant group in the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which controls almost one-third of Syrian territory located east of the Euphrates River.

“It is important that the YPG retreats from Manbij but it is not enough, it is also important to stabilize all regions under YPG control,” Çavuşoğlu said.


“Moral Policing” Under Fire After Couple Beaten For Embracing in Public — Highlights need for professional policing, rule of law, due process

May 2, 2018

In a deplorable case of moral policing in Kolkata, a young couple travelling by metro last Monday night was reportedly thrashed by angry co-passengers for embracing in public. Eye-witness videos of the incident show the couple being harassed and physically assaulted at a metro station after they deboarded. Although no complaints have been filed at the time of writing, the incident has sparked protests calling for action against the assaulters.

Image result for India, people hug, photos

Read: Couple thrashed for ‘intimacy’ on Kolkata Metro

While moral policing is a menace across most parts of the country, the Kolkata incident has caught attention for a couple of reasons. First, the fact that it happened in a metro — a modern form of public transport that is considered to be relatively safer — has the public alarmed. Second, residents of Kolkata believe the city to be cosmopolitan and open-minded where women, particularly, enjoy safe public spaces. This doesn’t seem to reflect ground reality as several incidents including the 2012 Park Street rape case show. With each such incident Kolkata’s ‘bhadralok’ veneer stands exposed.

Ultimately, moral policing is a symptom of poor law and order. In Kolkata and Bengal, the politicization of the police force has created a culture of impunity where those affiliated to the ruling party of the day think they are above the law. This mentality percolates to the masses, making people think they can take the law into their own hands. This is precisely what happened in the metro incident where a group of commuters perceived something to be objectionable and decided to deal with it themselves. Only effective, professional policing can remedy this situation and encourage victims to come forward to register their complaints. Those standards are clearly missing in Bengal.


Epidemic of “extrajudicial killings” in the Philippines shows us what happens in society when rule of law and due process aren’t observed….

© AFP | Philippine police have said they have killed roughly 4,100 suspects who fought back during arrest, but rights groups allege the actual number is three times higher and accuse the authorities of murder

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Philippines: Career diplomats want Cayetano, aides to resign — Kuwait row has unmasked the gross incompetence

May 2, 2018


“The diplomatic row between the Philippines and Kuwait has unmasked the gross incompetence of DFA Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano and his top aides who are now a liability to the Duterte administration,” the career officers said in the letter obtained by The STAR.

AFP/Fabrice Coffrini, File


Career diplomats want Cayetano, aides to resign
Pia Lee-Brago (The Philippine Star) – May 2, 2018 – 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Career officers at the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) are calling for the resignation of Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano and his appointees for gross incompetence that led to the diplomatic standoff with Kuwait.

Although the officers did not refer to the Union of Foreign Service Officers (UNIFORS) as the organization of career diplomats behind the letter, DFA officials learned it was sent to President Duterte asking for the resignation of Cayetano and his appointees in the department.

“The diplomatic row between the Philippines and Kuwait has unmasked the gross incompetence of DFA Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano and his top aides who are now a liability to the Duterte administration,” the career officers said in the letter obtained by The STAR.

They pointed out the President is the chief architect of Philippine foreign policy and engages in high stakes diplomacy with the Secretary of Foreign Affairs bridging the gap with the international community.

“Having no vision on foreign policy, Cayetano and his top aides miscalculated Kuwaiti reaction to the controversial rescue missions of distressed Filipino housemaids. This blunder resulted in the expulsion of our Ambassador to Kuwait, Rene (Renato) Villa, who was declared persona non grata by the host government,” the officers said.

The career officers called for the resignation of Cayetano and his appointees in the foreign service “to spare the Philippines from further diplomatic embarrassments.”

“Cayetano’s amateurism and inexperience threaten to jeopardize the welfare of 230,000 Filipino workers in Kuwait,” they said.

“It is a widespread belief that the Kuwaitis will not resume talks with the Philippines as long as Cayetano is the DFA secretary,” they said.

When Cayetano was appointed to the DFA almost a year ago, the officers said there was a perception that his youth would inject fresh ideas to Philippine foreign policy.

But they said many were disappointed as Cayetano’s lack of foresight and wisdom are also glaring on other foreign policy issues such as the West Philippine Sea, withdrawal of International Criminal Court membership, rejection of European Union (EU) aid and UN human rights.

The career officers also mentioned DFA Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs Sarah Lou Arriola, a non-career official, as another “liability” to the Duterte administration.

Prior to her appointment to the DFA, Arriola had no experience whatsoever in dealing with Filipino migrant workers, they said.

The officials said Arriola’s only visible credential is her close ties with Cayetano.

“Yet Arriola was the one who authorized the dispatch of rapid response teams (RRT) to Kuwait whose marching orders were to conduct more rescue of distressed Filipino housemaids, take videos of the rescue and upload them in FB (Facebook) for the whole world to see.”

They said Arriola was apparently ignorant of the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic and Consular Relations that she even went to Kuwait twice to personally instruct the rescue teams to intensify their operations in an attempt to show that Cayetano is on the side of the Filipino workers.

They claimed Arriola had flunked the Foreign Service Officers examinations.

“(She has) no moral ascendancy over career officers whom she treated with contempt, wanting to gain publicity to advance the sluggish political career of Cayetano,” they said.

The officials said the RRT was an ill-advised move to rescue Filipino workers in Kuwait since it could only be made in war-torn countries with no functioning government.

“Derisively referred to as “special forces“ by expats in Kuwait, Arriola’s RRT brought havoc to Philippine-Kuwait ties. Its blatant interference on its internal affairs was the main reason cited by the Kuwaitis in the expulsion of Ambassador Villa,” they said.

Duterte in February had imposed a prohibition on workers heading to Kuwait following the murder of a Filipina maid whose body was found stuffed in a freezer in the Gulf state.

The crisis deepened after Kuwaiti authorities last week ordered Villa to leave the country over videos of Philippine embassy staff helping workers in Kuwait flee allegedly abusive employers.

The Philippines, through Cayetano, has apologized for the incident but insisted that the rescue was a “rightful exercise” of its duty to protect its citizens.

The two nations had been negotiating a labor deal that Philippine officials said could result in the lifting of the ban, but the recent escalation in tensions has put an agreement in doubt.

The rescue in Kuwait also highlighted the supposed rift between Cayetano and Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III.

The trouble between Cayetano and Bello reportedly stemmed from the course of action each respectively took or recommended to the President to resolve the crisis affecting Filipino workers in Kuwait.

Cayetano initiated the rescue of the distressed Filipino workers while Bello suggested another approach.

Sources said Villa will be arriving today from Kuwait.

Toning down

Kuwaiti Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Al-Jarallah gave his assurance that Kuwait is keen on maintaining the safety and rights of all expatriates, including the Filipino community, within the labor laws of the country.

Al-Jarallah added that he appreciated the contributions of the Filipino community, over 200,000 of whom are working in various sectors in Kuwait.

Al-Jarallah expressed his optimism that the historic friendship between the two countries “could help overcome the exceptional circumstance” and that Kuwait was looking forward to working with the Philippines to honor mutual interest.

Cayetano welcomed the statements of Al-Jarallah conveying his government’s readiness to work with Manila to address the concerns of Filipino workers there.

“This gesture on the part of Kuwait, a country with which we have a shared history and strong people-to-people ties, will allow us to move forward and hurdle the challenges we face,” Cayetano said in a statement.

Cayetano said the Philippines acknowledged the assurances of Kuwait in protecting the rights and promoting the welfare of Filipinos working there.

“This is a shared goal that should be pursued with willingness to understand and respect where each side is coming from,” he added.

‘Soft landing’

Duterte, for his part, adopted a “soft landing” approach to the diplomatic row with Kuwait.

Duterte said he would not quarrel with the Kuwaiti government because “much is at stake.”

The President said he would not talk too much about the controversy because talks are ongoing but he did not elaborate.

“I won’t attack because talks are going on. At the minimum, I want them (workers) to come home. I will find money,” Duterte said.

“We will mobilize continuously until everyone who wants out of there would come home… So I am adopting a soft landing approach. I won’t talk much because so much is at stake,” he added.

Last week, Duterte urged Filipino workers in Kuwait to come home and vowed to provide for their needs. On Sunday, the President said he has made the deployment ban permanent but the labor department clarified later that the sending of workers might resume once an agreement protecting workers is signed.

Duterte said his administration is exerting all efforts to boost the level of protection of migrant workers, especially those in Kuwait.  – With Alexis Romero, Marvin Sy



UN Security Council envoy says Myanmar must hold a “proper investigation” into alleged atrocities against the Rohingya

May 1, 2018

Myanmar must hold a “proper investigation” into alleged atrocities against the Rohingya, a UN Security Council envoy said Tuesday, after the highest-level diplomatic visit to an area from which 700,000 members of the Muslim minority have been driven out.


© AFP / by Richard SARGENT | The UN delegates arrive at Sittwe airport in Rakhine

Refugees and rights groups say Myanmar’s army and vigilantes systematically raped and murdered civilians and torched villages during “clearance operations” in Rakhine state ostensibly targeting Rohingya militants.

That campaign launched last August in the mainly Buddhist nation sparked the exodus of Rohingya into Bangladesh.

During the two-day trip to Myanmar, UN delegates travelled to Rakhine and also met both civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi and Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, who heads an army accused by the UN of “ethnic cleansing”.

“In order to have accountability there must be a proper investigation,” Britain’s UN ambassador Karen Pierce told reporters, after envoys had visited the Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh and also Rakhine.

There were two ways to establish a full probe, “one is an ICC (International Criminal Court) referral”, she said. The other was for Myanmar’s government to hold its own comprehensive inquiry.

Last month the chief prosecutor for the ICC asked judges to consider whether the court’s jurisdiction extends to Myanmar, which is not a member of the panel.

Suu Kyi, pilloried outside her country for failing to speak up for the Rohingya, promised to “undertake a proper investigation” where evidence of atrocities was found, Pierce said.

“It doesn’t matter whether it (a probe) is international or domestic, as long as it’s credible,” she added.

During his meeting late Monday with the UN envoys, Myanmar’s army chief denied his forces had committed rape and other sexual abuses during the crackdown which he ordered.

“The Tatmadaw (army) is always disciplined… and takes action against anyone who breaks the law,” he told the delegates, according to a posting late Monday on his official Facebook page.

Rohingya women and girls in Bangladesh have provided consistent accounts of sexual violence — reports verified by conflict monitors — but Min Aung Hlaing said his forces have “no such history of sexual abuse.”

“It is unacceptable according to the culture and religion of our country,” he said, adding anyone found guilty of crimes would be punished.

– Speed up returns –

Min Aung Hlaing also repeated the official line that Myanmar was ready to take back those refugees who could be verified as residents, as per a repatriation deal with Bangladesh.

Several months after the deal was signed, no refugees have returned. They demand guarantees of safety, the right to return to their original villages and the granting of citizenship.

Another UN diplomat warned it would take “two or three years” for the refugees to be repatriated as the current timeframe to implement the deal continues to slip.

“There is a need to speed up the process,” said Mansour Ayyad Al-Otaibi, the Kuwaiti ambassador to the UN, adding conditions must be “safe and dignified” for return.

Bangladeshi accuses Myanmar of buying time by pretending to cooperate over repatriation for the benefit of the international community.

Myanmar says its neighbour has only handed back 8,000 repatriation forms so far, many of them incomplete, delaying the return process.

Myanmar denies the Rohingya citizenship and accompanying rights.

Since 2012 it has driven out two-thirds of its roughly 1.5 million Rohingya population.

by Richard SARGENT

Philippines: Duterte’s Boracay closure and drug war — Self enrichment, corruption, or wooing China? — What are Duterte’s motives?

May 1, 2018

Mark R. Thompson says low-profile dealings with a Chinese company, selective prosecution of drug traffickers and targeting of political enemies suggest there may be less wholesome (and less populist) reasons for the Philippine president’s moves

South China Morning Post
PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 01 May, 2018, 12:07pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 01 May, 2018, 1:12pm

With Boracay island’s white sands emptied of tourists after a six-month government-ordered closure late last week, the world again took notice of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s populist leadership style: melodramatic and personalised, with little concern for the consequences.

The shutdown played well to his fan base as another demonstration of his iron will to cleanse the country of its social ills. Promising to deal with Boracay’s “smelly waters” due to untreated sewage and other environmental hazards, Duterte again effectively portrayed himself as a strongman willing to stand up to corrupt local officials and dodgy businesses.

But his surprise decision largely ignored the local fallout, with 30,000 jobs affected in an island tourist trade worth over US$1 billion last year (with only limited compensation offered) while deflecting from his own political problems (revelations last February that the International Criminal Court had begun a preliminary investigation of his bloody “war on drugs” that has left thousands dead in his less than two years in office).

The way Duterte has dealt with Boracay’s problems is part of a larger pattern. He invokes graphic images to justify drastic decisions. He portrayed Boracay as a “cesspool” that must be closed. His 2016 presidential campaign was largely run on the narrative that drugs were ruining people’s lives and threatening to destroy the nation, with Duterte urging Filipinos to murder users and dealers whose dead bodies would fill Manila Bay until the fish grew fat. When rage is sufficiently aroused, extreme solutions become acceptable, even if the cost is lost jobs or even extrajudicial killings.

Duterte often announces his controversial decisions in speeches, usually before he gives marching orders to his cabinet. He revealed his Boracay shutdown decision in a February 9 speech, surprising his audience and the nation and leaving his cabinet secretaries scrambling to find a way to implement the order within a very short time frame.

Duterte’s decision to close Boracay is also an example of what University of Pennsylvania academic Denise van der Kamp terms “blunt force” regulation, typical of many developing countries, including China. It takes an all-or-nothing approach to a problem caused by non-enforcement of rules due to local corruption but in a manner that impacts equally those who obeyed regulations and those who did not.

In the case of Boracay, Philippine economist Solita Collas Monsod estimates that nearly two-thirds of hotels and other businesses complied with environmental regulations, but all establishments have been closed whether they played by the rules or not. Instead of working to improve the enforcement of existing regulations to deal with violators, Duterte chose a top-down solution, shutting down the entire island, leading to mass lay-offs and forgone revenues.

But there is another side of Duterte’s decision that has been overlooked. He has professed ignorance about recent government approval of plans by a Chinese firm to build a casino on the island. This raises questions of double standards, as presidential spokesman Harry Roque reported that Duterte was even threatening to dynamite structures on the island that threaten the environment. While Duterte has spoken of land reform in Boracay, returning land to the original farming community, it seems the opposite will happen, with the new casino and other high-end properties turning Boracay into a playground for the elite. 

 Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte impressed many when he met and chatted to Philippine domestic workers at a Jollibee restaurant in Hong Kong in April during his visit. Photo: Facebook

In his mid-April visit to Hong Kong, Duterte generated considerable sympathy among local Filipinos by meeting domestic helpers at a Hong Kong branch of the Philippine fast-food chain Jollibee. But he also hosted a dinner for the owners of leading migrant employment agencies at a time when there was controversy around the abrupt recall of Philippine labour attaché Jalilo Dela Torre, who had investigated recruiter abuses. Despite long-standing promises to help workers in the Philippines itself, Duterte recently decided against issuing an executive order to put an end to widespread short-term contractualisation that keeps many working Filipinos poor.

Even his motives in the “war on drugs” have been questioned, with his son Paolo accused of having connections to a major drug-smuggling ring and the dismissal of charges against two major drug kingpins by his secretary of justice, whom Duterte was forced to fire.

The Boracay closure comes as the Philippines enters a political crossroads – with worries mounting that the country’s liberal institutions are being further eroded. Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, whom Duterte has called “an enemy” is likely to be removed from office soon, vice-president and presidential critic Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo is facing an electoral challenge from Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, the son of former dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos, and a new constitution is in the making.

It is far from clear how effective the improvised clean-up of Boracay will be and whether it can be sustained in the long term. Analyst Matt Gebbie points out that “proactive” environmental protection is a far more effective alternative to such a reactive solution. But even assuming the shutdown does bring real improvements to perhaps the country’s most famous white sand beach, the Philippines will have paid a high price in terms of local jobs and lost revenue with tourists from around the world angered by cancelled bookings through this further demonstration of Duterte’s personalistic and arbitrary rule.

Mark R. Thompson is professor

Philippines: Release of ‘narco-list’ does not violate human rights, Palace says, despite past inaccuracies and trouble caused — Is this a “license to kill list?”

April 27, 2018

Releasing a list of candidates supposedly involved in the trade of illegal drugs does not violate any human right, Malacañang said on Friday, as rights advocates and groups continue to slam the decision.

President Rodrigo Duterte is seen showing his so-called “narco-list” during one of his speeches.

The STAR/Michael Varcas
Release of ‘narco-list’ does not violate human rights, Palace says, despite past inaccuracies
Audrey Morallo ( – April 27, 2018 – 3:31pm

MANILA, Philippines — Releasing a list of candidates supposedly involved in the trade of illegal drugs does not violate any human right, Malacañang said on Friday, as rights advocates and groups continue to slam the decision.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said that the order of President Rodrigo Duterte for the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency to release the government’s list of so-called narco-politicians did not violate the human rights of individuals to be named as they were running for elective government posts.

He said that the list would just “confirm” what was supposedly common knowledge among residents of a village who knew the people involved in illegal drugs in their communities.

“There’s not violation in that (decision) because what we are talking about is an elective government position,” Roque said in an interview with the state radio broadcaster.

PDEA this week said that it would release a village drug list containing 211 community officials supposedly linked to the trade of illegal drugs, just weeks before the elections on May 14.

PDEA spokesperson Derrick Carreon, in a phone interview with, said that the order came from the president himself amid supposed public clamor for the disclosure of the names.

Duterte, in many of his speaking engagements, brandished and bragged about his so-called “narco-list” which supposedly contained the names of politicians and officials profiting off the trade of illegal substances.

However, there have been mistakes in the past, with no less than former Philippine National Police chief Ronald Dela Rosa admitting the existence of inaccuracies.

Carreon sought to assuage fears over the authenticity of the names and allegation, saying that the intelligence units of the police and the military and the Intelligence Coordinating Agency helped in the verification of the individuals.

Carreon added that charges against the to-be-named individuals would be forthcoming in the next few days.

The Commission on Human Rights and an opposition congressman both cautioned the government against its plan, saying PDEA should observe due process.

The CHR said that although it understood the reason behind PDEA’s impending release of documents the presumption of innocence and right to due process should not be compromised.

“People in the village know who’s involved in drugs. If your name is on the list, it’s just a confirmation. Let us leave the people in the village (to make the decision) because they really know their neighbors and if the list is accurate or not,” he said.

The international human rights watchdog Human Rights Watch meanwhile warned that the release of the list would result in more bloodshed.

Duterte and his government have been criticized local and internationally for their brutal crackdown on illegal drugs which has killed thousands of Filipinos most of whom belong to the country’s urban poor.



Foreign correspondents protest Philippine ‘strong actions’ vs press

April 27, 2018


The dynamism of the Philippine press has been challenged by President Rodrigo Duterte, who repeatedly hurled threats against journalists, Reporters Without Borders noted.
Foreign correspondents protest Philippine ‘strong actions’ vs press

Audrey Morallo ( – April 27, 2018 – 4:46pm

MANILA, Philippines — The country’s organization of foreign correspondents on Friday expressed “alarm” over the government’s “strong actions” that violated the constitution’s guarantee of freedom of information.

In a statement, the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines cited incidents in recent days that barred its members from covering press briefings of government officials and asking them questions.

“The Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines (FOCAP) is deeply alarmed by the Philippine government’s strong actions that clearly violate Constitutional provisions on freedom of information,” the group said in a statement.

FOCAP said that the latest incident in which the government restricted access to information happened in Singapore after its members were stopped from covering a news conference on Friday by Department of Labor and Employment Secretary Silvestre Bello III who was part of the Philippine delegation in the summit of Southeast Asian leaders there.

FOCAP said that its members were barred from covering Bello’s media briefing even if its members were accredited by the government’s International Press Center.

This incident followed the restrictions FOCAP members faced in covering the media conference of Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano also in Singapore.

“FOCAP members were blocked from a news conference given by Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano. They were subsequently allowed access, but were barred from asking questions during the press event,” the group said.

FOCAP said that these were not isolated events as its members also faced press restrictions in the coverage of the five-month battle for Marawi City and the closure of the popular tourist island of Boracay.

Just this week, the country’s press freedom ranking in the 2018 World Press Freedom Index released by the media watchdog Reporters Without Borders slipped from 127th to 133rd this year.

The watchdog said that the dynamism of the Philippine press was challenged by the tirades of President Rodrigo Duterte against it, a charge that his spokesman denied.

“Our record will stand for itself. We have taken steps to protect the lives of journalists. We have not sent any reporter to jail,” Presidential spokesman Roque said in a press conference in the palace on Thursday, adding that it was natural for the chief executive to answer “untrue” stories published by the media.

Roque said that this year’s ranking was still better than the Philippines’ 138th rank in 2016 and its 141st place in 2015.

Duterte has been criticized for his verbal, and some claim legal, attacks on critical media organizations in the Philippines.

FOCAP is also alarmed at reports that the House of Representatives has passed a rule threatening to revoke media accreditation of outfits whose reports “besmirch the reputation” of the body.

It said that this rule gave a “wide latitude” for interpretation and could be used to limit critical press.

The group said that in a meeting with Communications Assistant Secretary Queeni Rodulfo in November 207 she agreed to allow Filipinos working for foreign media outfits “unfettered access to the president’s media events as well as other international press events.”

“Government must clarify and spell out clear guidelines on media coverage so as to avoid similar incidents in the future,” it said.



U.S. Chief Complaints With The Philippines Remain: Extrajudicial Killings, Impunity, Rule of Law, Human Rights Abuses

April 21, 2018
Image may contain: one or more people, shoes and outdoor
Photo: Journalists and photograpphers have documented thousands of extrajudicial killings in the Philippines during the Duterte administration. AP/Bullit Marquez, File photo
State Department report: EJKs still ‘chief’ human rights concern in Philippines

Ian Nicolas Cigaral ( – April 21, 2018 – 11:21am

MANILA, Philippines — The alleged cases of summary execution in President Rodrigo Duterte’s bloody drug war remains a major human rights concern in the Philippines, amid rising impunity following a dramatic surge in police killings, the US State Department said in its global rights report for 2017.

“Extrajudicial killings have been the chief human rights concern in the country for many years and, after a sharp rise with the onset of the antidrug campaign in 2016, they continued in 2017,” read the report released Friday (Washington time).

Duterte, who is notorious for his defiance of international pressure and rejection of criticisms on his rights record, easily won the race to Malacañang on a brutal law and order platform.

Human rights monitors say most of the fatalities in the government’s anti-narcotic drive are extrajudicial killings committed by cops taking a frontline role in the lethal campaign and unknown assailants.

But the force had vehemently denied executing suspected drug traffickers in cold blood, saying deaths in police shootings were done in self-defense.

Amid the mounting death toll, critics say Duterte is waging a “war on poor,” making him liable for crimes against humanity for giving cops the “license to kill.”

Citing the 900 drug-related deaths reported by media from January to September last year, the State Department said concerns about police impunity “increased significantly.”

The US government also expressed doubt over the accuracy and legitimacy of Duterte’s list of alleged drug personalities.

“Police claimed to have begun investigations of all reports of extrajudicial killings,” the report read in part.

“Some civil society organizations accused police of planting evidence, tampering with crime scenes, unlawfully disposing of the bodies of drug suspects, and other actions to cover up extrajudicial killings,” it added.

Aside from the drug war, the report likewise flagged other “most significant” human rights issues in the country, including life threatening prison conditions, warrantless arrests, the state’s “disregard” for due process, violence against the free press and rights activists, and forced labor, among others.


The report’s release comes at a time of improving Manila-Washington ties, as US President Donald Trump cozies up to Duterte, whom the American leader said was doing an “unbelievable job on the drug problem.”

In a departure from previous policy of past American leaders to call out human rights violators, Trump had also reportedly said that “Filipinos don’t have drug problem [because] they just kill them.”

Asked how the State Department report is consistent with the human rights policies of Trump—who has been criticized for his apparent affinity for leaders accused of being authoritarian like Duterte—senior State Department official Michael Kozak maintained that the report is “factual.”

“Now, does that mean that the President should never speak to these people? We’re trying to keep the report as the factual baseline for what we’re going to do in policy terms or sanctions as the secretary was mentioning. So we can learn a lot from this, and we can use it to formulate a policy,” Kozak, who helped oversee the report, said in a press conference.

“But usually part of your policy is engaging with the people whose behavior you’re trying to change at some level. And I don’t think those two things are in distinction,” he added.

“The fact is, these other governments and their populations do read the report… And when the President speaks to their leader, often he’s talking about these issues, so it’s – it’s complementary, it’s not a – two things that are in conflict.”




 (Includes FT Op-Ed)


Philippine Government Blast EU For Interfering Human Rights, War On Drugs — “What do they care how many die here? They can all go to hell.”

April 20, 2018
By:  – Reporter / @NCorralesINQ
 / 05:22 PM April 20, 2018

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque INQUIRER FILE PHOTO / JOAN BONDOC

Where are the 12,000 drug war deaths?

Malacañang hit back on Friday at the European Parliament for issuing a resolution urging the Philippines to stop its war on drugs, claiming it is marred by alleged extrajudicial killings and human rights violations.

The EU Parliament also called on the Philippines to release Sen. Leila de Lima and give her a fair trial and remove the terrorists tag against human rights defenders in the country.

“We of course find it unfortunate that members of the European Parliament once again interfered with the affairs of the Philippine state, rehashing issues and baseless claims that have been explained adequately by the Philippine government in several official statements. ,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a Palace briefing.

Image result for duterte with rifle, photo, april 2018

President Rodrigo Duterte

In this Thursday, April 19, 2018, file photo, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte jokes to photographers as he holds an Israeli-made Galil rifle which was presented to him by outgoing Philippine National Police Chief Director General Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa, at the turnover-of-command ceremony at Camp Crame in suburban Quezon city northeast of Manila, Philippines. Duterte told the crowd he will not stop his so-called war on drugs until his last day in office. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez, File)

Source: AP

In their latest resolution, the EU Parliament also noted the death of 12,000 individuals in President Rodrigo Duterte’s brutal war on drugs.

Roque reiterated that the Duterte administration does not engage in extrajudicial killings .

Image may contain: 1 person, sitting and shoes

“Ang sabi po nila, 12,000 na raw po ang namatay. Nasaan po iyong mga bangkay, at nasaan po iyong mga demanda ng mga 12,000 victims?  Roque asked.

“Kakaunti lang po ang alam naming mga demanda tungkol dito sa mga patayan na ito, and we of course challenge them – saan po iyong mga datos, saan ang ebidensiya na 12,000 ang namatay na?” he added.

Roque reiterated that the government does not tolerate impunity.

“Impunity does not have a place in our society and we continue to follow due process and hold officers accountable for their actions,” he said.

“Hindi po natin kinukusinti ang mga patayan. Ang ating mga institusyon ay gumagalaw po para bigyan ng implementasyon ang ating batas laban sa patayan (We do not tolerate these deaths. Our institutions are working to implement the laws against killings),” he added.

The war on drugs under the Duterte administration has received international condemnation from rights groups for alleged human rights abuses by police authorities.

De Lima arrest legal

Roque also slammed the EU Parliament, saying the arrest and detention of de Lima followed strict legal procedures.

“The arrest and detention of Senator Leila De Lima on illegal drug charges which follows strict legal procedures has even been declared legal with finality by the Supreme Court of the Philippines,” he said.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday junked the plea for reconsideration of De Lima to nullify the arrest warrant against her issued by Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court (RTC) Executive Judge Juanita Guerrero.

“Ngayong linggo lang po ito, Korte Suprema na ang nagbasura noong Motion for Reconsideration ni Leila De Lima na kinukuwestiyon iyong legalidad ng information laban sa kaniya. Ano pong gagawin natin? Korte Suprema na nagsabi, dalawang beses; hindi lang isang beses na legal ‘yan,” Roque said.

The Palace official said the judicial system in the Philippines is working.

“Gumagana po ang hudikatura dito sa Pilipinas, hindi po naimpluwensiyahan ng mga pulitiko ang mga lower courts at ang Korte Supreme dito sa Pilipinas dahil ngayon po, menorya pa lang ang naa-appoint na mga justices ng ating Pangulo sa Supreme Court,” he said.

He daid the executive branch does not interfere with the decision of the judiciary.

Terrorist tag

Roque said human rights defenders tagged as terrorist by the government were being given due process and the right to be heard.

“United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous People Victoria Tauli-Corpuz is included in the list of terrorist because of intelligence information. Ms. Corpuz can submit controverting evidence linking her with the terrorist group, the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army,” he said.

He said Corpuz was not yet a terrorist as her case was still in court.

“Hindi pa naman siya nababansagang terorista; kinakailangan munang magkaroon ng order sa hukuman. So binibigyan po siya ng due process, bibigyan po siya ng pagkakataon na marinig. Magsumite po siya ng ebidensiya na hindi siya terorista, at pabayaan natin ang hukuman magdesisyon,” he said.

Roque said it would be the court and not foreigner lawmakers who would decide and whether Corpuz would be tagged as a terrorist.

“We thus call on the members of the European Parliament to exercise prudence in issuing resolutions,” he said.

“We understand a number of whom have close ties with the local political opposition who tried to distort realities that we have a working democracy, where people now enjoy peace and order,” he added.

In its World Report 2018, Human Rights Watch said President Rodrigo Duterte dragged the Philippines into a serious human rights crisis since the dictatorship of late Ferdinand Marcos, whom Duterte had praised in the past. Daniel Berehulak for The New York Times/World Press Photo via AP, File

PH removal from UN

Roque also addressed the plan of the EU Parliament for the removal of the Philippines from the UN Human Rights Council.

“Well that’s not a decision to be made by the European parliament. That’s a decision to be made by the UN system itself. The members of the UN Human Rights Council are elected by the general assembly, that’s a call to be made by the general assembly,” he said.



Cayetano dares HRW: Show proof 12,000 were killed in PH drug war
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 (Includes FT Op-Ed)


All this makes one wonder: does the Philippines know what it is doing with China? In the South China Sea?  Benham Rise? Is Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, the ICC, and is Agnes Callamard  (Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions at the UN) correct in saying the Philippines is guilty of gross illegalities under international law? Is the Philippine government being run by people who don’t understand the law? Is the move for a “Federal form of Government” based upon any good thinking?


 (No man is above the law…)


The grandmother of 17-year-old Kian delos Santos, Violeta, cries beside his casket yesterday in Caloocan City. Relatives and concerned neighbors of the teenager slain by police are calling for justice. MICHAEL VARCAS
One of the fatalities, who has yet to be identified, was killed in an alleged shootout with police officers in Guiguinto, Bulacan on June 16. AP/Aaron Favila, file

Image may contain: 2 people

Philippine National Police chief General Ronald Dela Rosa whispers to President Rodrigo Duterte during the announcement of the disbandment of police operations against illegal drugs at the Malacanang palace in Manila, Philippines on Jan 29, 2017.PHOTO: REUTERS

Jee Ick-joo, a South Korean businessman in the Philippines, was abducted by police from his home in October. It took his wife, Choi Kyung-jin, three months to learn his fate. Video: Eva Tam; photo: Jes Aznar for The Wall Street Journal

According to the Philippine National Police, there have been 6,225 drug-related deaths between July 2016 and September 2017. Despite this, the authorities claim that there has only been one extrajudicial victim under the current administration. AFP/Noel Celis
Three of five Filipinos believe that only the poor are killed in the government’s anti-illegal drug campaign, the Social Weather Stations said in its latest survey. AFP/Noel Celis
Photos obtained by the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism show the body of Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. lying flat on his back with his eyes half-open, and both of his hands empty. He was killed while in police custody during a “jail house shoot out” with police. All the police involved were exonerated and returned to duty. Image obtained by PCIJ/Nancy Carvajal



 (The Philippines seems to be siding with China, Russia and Iran)




Philippines: Human Rights Watch director Phelim Kine also said the numbers of fatalities in the drug war launched by President Rodrigo Duterte when he assumed office on June 30, 2016, are “appalling but predictable” since he (Duterte) vowed to “forget the laws on human rights.”

Image result for Boy Cruz, philippine policeman, photos

Philippines Policeman found tortured and strangled after some fellow police said he was involved in the illegal drug trade. Photo Credit Boy Cruz

 (December 23, 2016)


 (Philippine Star, December 1, 2016)

 (Philippine Star, December 1, 2016)

“They are afraid the incident could cause President Duterte to declare martial law. I talked with some sultans and ulamas and elders here… and that’s what they have told me,” Ponyo said.

 (November 30, 2016)

Image may contain: 1 person, eyeglasses and beard

High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein. UN Photo, Jean-Marc Ferré

Summary executions of supposed drug dealers and other criminals have become a common occurence in recent weeks. The STAR/Joven Cagande, file

 (November 16, 2016)

 (August 10, 2016)

Davao City’s Ronald dela Rosa has been appointed to become the next chief of the Philippine National Police to lead President-elect Rodrigo Duterte’s planned crackdown on illegal drugs. Facebook/Dela Rosa

Philippines Watches as Elected President in a Democracy Becomes Something Else Entirely — Names Supreme Court Chief Justice His “Enemy” — Rule of Law?

April 11, 2018
 / 05:10 AM April 11, 2018

President Duterte has taken the velvet glove off the iron hand.

Before he left for the Boao Forum in China, he called Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno of the Supreme Court an “enemy,” and vowed he would remove her from office.

“I’m putting you on notice that I’m your enemy and you have to be out of the Supreme Court,” an angry President said in a news conference. “I will see to it and after that, I will request the Congress go into the impeachment right away.”

“I’m putting you on notice that I’m your enemy and you have to be out of the Supreme Court”

What triggered the President’s outright declaration of enmity? What provoked his declaration of political war?

Sereno — forced to go on indefinite leave from the Court by an unwieldy coalition of justices, facing both a patently unconstitutional quo warranto proceeding before the Court and certain impeachment in the House of Representatives — has been accepting unending invitations to speak in all sorts of public forums, and in the last one she raised the obvious question: If the President says he is not behind the twin moves to oust her, why was it Solicitor General Jose Calida, the government’s chief lawyer and a close ally of the President’s, who filed the quo warranto case against her?

Even in the polite Filipino she used, there was no mistaking the direct challenge she had laid at the President’s door: “Mr. President, kung sinabi mong wala kang kinalaman dito, paki paliwanag po bakit si SolGen Calida na nagrereport sa ’yo ang nag-file ng quo warranto?”

President Duterte took personal offense. In a mix of Filipino and English, he said: “You, Sereno, I told you I did not interfere. If you are insisting, then count me in. Count me in and I will egg Calida to do his best. I myself will do it, fight you.”

And: “Son of a bitch, I said I did not interfere. Tell her, let the world know. [Now] I will really get involved.”

And again: “I was telling you that I did not interfere. Now look what you’ve done, talking and talking, I will beat you up. I will help any investigator.”

And, one last time: “Now I will really get involved. I am asking Congress: What’s taking you too long? Do not create any crisis in this country. I will not hesitate to do what is to the best interest of my country. If it calls for your forced removal, I will do it.”

It is no secret that Sereno has been on the wrong side of the President’s personal ledger since she defended the independence of the judiciary when, at the start of the President’s signature campaign against drugs, he pinpointed judges he said were implicated in the illegal drug trade.

Speaking for the Supreme Court, Sereno calmly welcomed the President’s allegations but firmly insisted that the judiciary, being a branch of government designed to be independent of the two political branches, must follow its own procedures in determining the guilt or innocence of any accused judges. It was downhill from there.

There was even an exchange of views that led the President to exclaim, “Or would you rather I will declare martial law?”

Since August 2016, when the two heads of coequal branches of government conducted what amounted to a debate held through public forums or press conferences, Sereno had always sought not to directly challenge the President.

Her statements, while growing increasingly sharp, were still couched in polite diplomatic language.

Her speech last Monday directly challenging the President was a departure from previous practice — and it must have been deliberate.

The question then is: Why did Sereno seemingly sign her own death warrant, so to speak, by taking on the President?

Because it sharpens the issues facing Sereno. The impeachment complaint in Congress was of course a political stratagem; how else could an incoherent complaint filed by an incompetent lawyer survive a lengthy proceeding if not for the political will of the leaders running the proceeding?

Now the President himself has confirmed that he wants the House of Representatives to hurry up.

Sereno has reached the point where the only possibility of legal and constitutional salvation lies in an impeachment trial in the Senate.

By provoking the President, she has succeeded in forcing the hand of the House.

But why was the House taking so long, when impeachment is a foregone conclusion?

Because House leaders are waiting for the Supreme Court to take the unconstitutional option of unseating an official identified by the Constitution as removable only by impeachment through another means — the quo warranto case.

Sereno’s challenge has led the President to paint the justices into a corner. If they oust her, whatever reasons they use they will be seen, forever, as mere errand boys and girls, carrying out the command of an angry executive.

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