Dispatch from Crame No. 253: Senator Leila M. de Lima’s statement on Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano’s death squad diplomac


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Unlike Cayetano who has to sell Duterte’s drug war to the world like a second hand car salesman, human rights defenders only have to let reality and the truth speak insofar as state-sanctioned extra-judicial killings are concerned. And reality and the truth show that as of the latest PNP body count, 20,322 human beings had so far been killed in Duterte’s drug war since July 1, 2016.

Cayetano of course has to impress his boss that he is delivering results, especially after the start of the ICC prosecutor’s preliminary examination on the Philippine situation, and the exhortation of the UNHRC members that the Duterte regime should uphold human rights and stop the summary executions.

But saying that I never charged his boss in court while I was Secretary of Justice is Cayetano’s lame defense of his boss’s human rights record, especially after Matobato’s and Lascañas’s detailed accounts of then Mayor Duterte’s murders have been heard by the whole world.

Cayetano is fooling only himself if he thinks he is able to convince the international community that killing Filipino civilians in order to “save” the Philippines is justified under international law. Executing defenseless suspects and children without trial is not a case of national defense. It is simply state-sanctioned cold-blooded murder and a crime against humanity.

It is becoming clearer by the day that the Duterte regime would need more than a Cayetano to convince the world with its excuses and lies. After all, Cayetano is no Adlai Stevenson or Carlos P. Romulo or Albert del Rosario. And that instead of the truth, the core of his message is the lie about a drug war that has not eliminated drugs and the drug supply, only poor suspects, among them children.

The messenger is only as good as the message. Not even an accomplished diplomat can peddle barefaced lies to an international audience, much less thickfaced neophyte. By acting as Duterte’s merchant of death to the world, Cayetano is giving Philippine diplomacy and diplomats a bad name, and an indelible international embarrassment that would take the DFA years to recover from. ###

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