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Perfect sila! Palace rejects ‘faulty’ UN human rights report, says gov’t upholds rule of law

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By Prince Golez

Malacañang dismissed as “faulty” a new report by the United Nations’ Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) that the Duterte government’s “heavy-handed” focus on security threats and illegal drugs has resulted in “serious” human rights violations in the country.

In a statement released on Saturday, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque maintained that the rule of law was upheld in the Philippines and “any offenses committed by law-enforcement or otherwise will be dealt with in accordance with due process.”

In its 26-page report, the Human Rights Office claimed that human rights violations in the Philippines have become “more acute” in recent years, citing the alleged killings of drug suspects during police operations.

It also noted the charges filed against the government’s political opponents, its campaign of red-tagging rights organizations, and the shutdown of media giant ABS-CBN last month.

Roque assured the UN that the government continues to ensure the exercise of the rights guaranteed by the Constitution, adding that it was also its duty to “enforce the acknowledged and clear limits of these rights: public order, public safety and security, and public health.”

“Our courts stand ready to receive and rule on any complaints and their autonomy is respected by the Duterte administration. Our commitment to the campaign against illegal drugs is buoyed not just by its gains with respect to drug users rehabilitated and drug peddlers stopped, but by the public’s continued support for the President, who won his office on the issue of illegal drugs,” according to the Palace official.

“The OHCHR’s conclusions regarding the supposed crackdown on critical advocates is belied by its own findings that the ‘Philippines has a long-standing, robust tradition of human rights advocacy and civil society activism, with 60,000 registered non-governmental organizations’,” he said.

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