The presidential palace on Tuesday dismissed as “false” and “rehashed” the report of human rights watchdog Amnesty International on the supposed commission of unlawful killings and human rights violations in the Philippines.
In a press statement, acting presidential spokesperson Martin Andanar expressed dismay that the human rights group continues to rely on the critics’ baseless allegations against President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and his administration.
“We consider Amnesty International Report 2021-2022 as simply a cut-and-paste collection of recycled issues and arguments used by perennial detractors and critics of the Duterte Administration,” said Andanar.
In its report for 2020 to 2021, Amnesty International claimed that extrajudicial executions and other human rights violations persist in the Philippines under the guise of Duterte’s anti-narcotics drive.
According to the report, the supposed lack of accountability “continued to facilitate unlawful killings and other human rights violations under the government’s ‘war on drugs campaign.’”
Andanar lamented that Amnesty International failed to verify its latest report.
“Sadly, [Amnesty International’s] reports are never vetted with the Philippine government if only to authenticate their information. The absence of such vetting relegates AI’s report to a mere false rehash,” he said.
Andanar also reacted to the AI report on the Duterte administration’s alleged “mishandling” of the pandemic, saying the claim is “far from the truth as all regions in the Philippines are presently at minimal risk case classification.”
Andanar also lectured the AI about the Philippines’ election to a fifth term in the United Nations Human Rights Council, saying it is a “recognition by this global body of the Philippine government’s faithful adherence to promoting, protecting, and fulfilling the human rights of the Filipino people.”
He urged the AI to hold talks with the Presidential Human Rights Committee Secretariat to make sure that the pressing issues in the country are “properly discussed and resolved.”
“In keeping with our commitment to remain open to multi-stakeholder engagements, we ask AI to sit down with the government to clarify whatever concerns them, valid issues or otherwise,” Andanar said.