Photo by Bullit Marquez
Senator Leila de Lima, who was the one who filed a resolution to invite UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary, and Arbitrary Killings Agnes Callamard to the country, questioned the ground rules given by the administration for the said visit.
According to her, the parameters given by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) were restrictive and smacks of prior censorship.
"While it is within the prerogatives of the Philippine government as the host country, through the DFA, to set reasonable parameters for the visit of the UN special rapporteurs and other UN probers, I find questionable the announced rule that it is the government that will decide the places to be visited and the persons to be interviewed by these probers,” the senator said.
"What is the sense of inviting independent probers if they are not going to be allowed freedom of movement and action, and are going to be dictated upon on the extent of their visits and sources of information?"
Meanwhile, DFA spokesmen Charles Jose said that the rapporteurs have to follow the protocols set by the country, which includes the need to secure approval from the government regarding the personalities they want to interview and places they will visit.
They have to agree to the protocols before being allowed to enter the country, he said.
De Lima countered, saying that any investigation "under such constraints can no longer be deemed independent."
"Protocols do not mean censorship and control over the ability of the UN team to conduct an independent, credible, and exhaustive probe," De Lima said.
In her resolution, she stated that, "This call for a speedy and impartial investigation is justified by the perception that our local institutions of law enforcement and justice, including domestic mechanisms of accountability of public officials, appear to be either inadequate, compromised or weak."
"Agencies and organs within the Executive Department such as the PNP and the National Bureau of Investigation cannot be expected to even initiate, much more sustain, an independent investigation into the killings."
De Lima questions parameters for UN visit Reviewed by FNPH Correspondent on Sunday, September 25, 2016 Rating: