MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Leni Robredo on Wednesday denied President Rodrigo Duterte’s claim that she invited United Nations Human Rights Commission prosecutors to look into the government’s campaign against illegal drugs after she was appointed to co-lead its inter-agency committee.
Robredo said she only met with officers from the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime, and the United States Embassy in Manila last week to discuss initiatives against illegal drugs.
“Wala akong UN prosecutor na kakilala. Wala akong sinulatan. Wala akong inimbita. Kaya kung may nakarating sa kaniyang may inimbita ako, fake news yun,” she said.
Duterte on Tuesday appeared incensed over a tweet by Phelim Kine, former deputy director for Asia of the New York-based Human Rights Watch, in which he stated his willingness to go to the Philippines to help advise Robredo about her new role as anti-drug committee co-chair.
“Dear VP @lenirobredo – my bags are packed and I’m ready to come to the #Philippines to help advise how to end this murderous “drug war,” Kine said in his tweet posted on Nov. 11.
“Meanwhile here is my Recommendation No. 1: Arrest #Duterte and his henchmen for inciting & instigating mass murder,” he added.
Dear VP @lenirobredo – my bags are packed and I'm ready to come to the #Philippines to help advise how to end this murderous "drug war." Meanwhile here is my Recommendation No. 1: Arrest #Duterte and his henchmen for inciting & instigating mass murder https://t.co/adVEP2lTsq https://t.co/FpxxCT7jIn— Phelim Kine 林海 (@PhelimKine) November 11, 2019
Duterte described Kine as a United Nations prosecutor supposedly invited by Robredo.
“Pati ba naman ‘yang prosecutor and the tweet. Nakita ko yung tweet eh. ‘I am packed and ready to go to arrest Duterte.’ Yan ang imbitahin mo? Ganun ang salita sa akin?” he said.
“She invited even ang mga prosecutor ng Human Rights Commission which we rebuked. Bakit papupuntahin dito ang mga prosecutors and all? She was grandstanding na. It was like a carnival, she was talking right and left na,” he added.
Duterte has been sensitive to criticisms against his administration’s war on drugs, and even decided to withdraw the Philippines’ ratification of the Rome Statute, a United Nations (UN) treaty that created the International Criminal Court following its move in 2018 to launch a preliminary probe on claims that Duterte committed crimes against humanity through his war on drugs.
In July 2019, The United Nations Human Rights Council adopted a resolution led by Iceland, seeking to probe the human rights situation in the Philippines amid the administration’s war on drugs.
Malacañang slammed the adoption of the resolution, calling it “grotesquely one-sided” and designed “to embarrass the Philippines before the international community.” — RRD (with details from Correspondent Vincent Arboleda)
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