Auxiliary bishop of Manila hopes it will help put an end to extrajudicial killings and guarantee justice to the victims and their families. If the government does not cooperate, the prelate warns, "it has something to hide". The Philippine government remains (for now) within the UN Human Rights Council, but attacks Iceland.
Manila (AsiaNews) - The Filipino Catholic Church welcomes the UN decision to launch an investigation into the thousands of killings in the archipelago, in particular those related to the fight against drugs promoted by the president Rodrigo Duterte. According to the auxiliary archbishop of Manila, Msgr. Broderick Pabillo, the investigation will help put an end to extrajudicial killings and guarantee justice to the victims and their families.
Asked by CbcpNews, the prelate stresses that the Duterte government should favor, if it has nothing to hide, the investigation of the UN Human Rights Council. "If the government considers itself above board in its drug war it should allow itself to be investigated by an outside entity. If it does not it has something to hide,” Pabillo said.
On 11 July, the UNHRC voted in favor of the first ever resolution on the Philippines, focused on the violent anti-drug campaign in progress: presented by Iceland, it obtained the favorable vote of 18 countries. The 14 against included China, while 15 nations - including Japan - abstained.
The latest figures from the Philippine National Police (PNP) have brought the number of official deaths to over 6,600. 1,600 people have died in the last six months. According to media reports and human rights activists, the number of victims is between 27,000 and 30,000, counting the murders committed by vigilantes.
Manila criticized the choice of the UN body, calling it groundless and one-way, as well as a violation of national sovereignty. "“When other foreign bodies wants to investigate human rights abuses the government appeals to our sovereignty but when it is a matter of defending our territories and defending our people from China it is silent,” he said.
Finally, the Philippine government has decided - at least for the moment - not to cut ties with the UN Human Rights Council, remaining within it despite the ongoing investigation. However, Foreign Minister Teodoro Locsin Jnr has not spared criticism of Iceland, a nation that promoted the resolution while not breaking - at least until now - diplomatic relations as threatened at first.