De Lima hits Malacañang’s, DND’s knee-jerk reaction to US State Dept HR violations report


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 Re-electionist Senator Leila M. de Lima criticized the knee-jerk reaction of Malacañang and the Department of National Defense (DND) to the 2021 US State Department report on Philippine human rights abuses.

 De Lima, a social justice and human rights champion, said that their reaction on US report citing “numerous” human rights abuses by Philippine security forces “is a product of their indolent and superficial review of said report.”

 “In their knee-jerk reaction to the State Department report, Malacañang and the DND simply dismissed the entirety of the report, without bothering to notice that a large part of the report was sourced from official Philippine government data,” she said.

 “As such, if the State Department report contains “infirm intelligence”, according to Andanar, then Philippine government data must also be the source of this infirmity,” she added.

 In its 2021 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices released this month, the US State Department said it found reports on human rights abuses allegedly committed by Philippine security forces, including extrajudicial killings and torture as “credible.”

 Among the “significant” human rights issues in the Philippines that the US State Department mentioned in said report were unlawful or arbitrary killings by and on behalf of the government and non-state actors and torture by and on behalf of the government and non-state actors, to name a few.

 Acting Presidential Spokesperson Martin Andanar said the Palace considered the report “utterly devoid of bases” while Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said such report is questionable, even challenging the US Sate Department to “provide us with details” to “verify them.”

If they actually read the report, De Lima noted that “instead of insulting the information-gathering capabilities of the United States, they would find that the report included a scathing portion on rights violations committed by the NPA, such as revolutionary taxation and the recruitment of child soldiers, among others.”

The lady Senator from Bicol said she expects the Duterte administration to say that it is only rejecting those parts of the report that attribute human rights abuses to state security forces.

“But that would be a clear case of cherry-picking,” she stressed. “Malacañang cannot ignore the evidence already gathered by other international organizations, such as Amnesty International, which result in the same findings of prevalent human rights abuses, if not crimes against humanity, committed by the Duterte administration.”

De Lima maintained that the State Department and AI Reports, among many other evidence and information gathering efforts undertaken by international organizations, will only serve to buttress the International Criminal Court (ICC) case against Duterte and his lackeys.

“As he nears the end of his term, Duterte, with his Malacañang stooges, must already be so tired of parrying incontrovertible reports of human rights abuses that they are just waiting for it to be over and done with.

“But the end of Duterte’s term will just be the beginning of their reckoning. The International Criminal Court (ICC) will continue to pursue the case against them for crimes against humanity,” she said.

It may be recalled that De Lima filed a communication with the ICC in October 2017 to complement the communications submitted by the late Atty. Jude Sabio, and former lawmakers Antonio “Sonny” Trillanes IV and Gary Alejano against Duterte.

The communication included statements of self-confessed hitman Edgar Matobato and retired police officer Arturo Lascañas, that they killed people in Davao City upon the orders of then Mayor Rodrigo Duterte. (30)

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