Palace: No Duterte order suspending loans, grants from 18 countries backing PH killings probe
MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang denied Friday that President Rodrigo Duterte issued an order terminating all financial assistance from the 18 countries that voted to approve a United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) resolution calling for an investigation into the Philippines’ drug war killings.
“The President has not issued any memorandum suspending loans and negotiations involving 18 countries that voted in favor of the Iceland resolution,” Duterte spokesman and chief legal counsel Salvador Panelo told reporters in a text message.
Panelo issued the statement after the Inquirer reported that a confidential memorandum dated August 27 from the Office of the President ordered a suspension of all negotiations or signing of all loan and grant agreements with the countries which voted in favor of the UNHRC resolution last July 11.
The memo, which was reportedly signed by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea was issued “in light of the administration’s strong rejection of the resolution of the UN Human Rights Council.”
It claimed that the resolution seeking a probe into the drug war killings was approved by only “a minority of the council members.”
The ban on loans, aid, grants from these countries would stay “pending the assessment of our relations with these countries” and would remain in effect until lifted by the Office of the President, the memo noted.
The UN body—with a vote of 18 affirmative, 14 negative, and 15 abstensions—sought a comprehensive report on the Philippines’ human right situation.
The 18 countries that voted in the affirmative were Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Fiji, Iceland, Italy, Mexico, Peru, Slovakia, Spain, Ukraine, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and Uruguay. /kga
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