Palace: Criticisms of UN rights commissioner has no ‘factual basis’
Malacañang on Tuesday hit back at United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, saying his criticisms of President Rodrigo Duterte, particularly on his campaign against illegal drugs, lacked “factual basis.”
“We are deeply concerned with the UNHCR Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein’s sweeping statements during the UNHR Council’s 36th session, citing instances bereft of factual basis,” presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said in a statement.
Abella said the accusations of Hussein “run counter to what he continues to pronounce.”
Hussein said he was “gravely concerned by the President’s open support for a shoot-to-kill policy regarding suspects.”
“The President has categorically and repeatedly said that there is no shoot-to-kill order. All drug killings are subject to investigations,“ Abella said.
The UN commissioner also hit Duterte’s threat to bomb Lumad schools, believing that it was “teaching subversion” to children.
Abella said Hussein’s allegations “miss the context” of Duterte’s remarks. He instead told the commissioner to “focus on the Duterte administration’s efforts to educate the indigenous people (IP).”
“At present, there are 2,929,456 IP learners in the public school system,” Abella said. “For next year, the IP education program will receive P130.43 million, which is largely for capacity building, program support fund for implementation of IP education at the regional and division level.”
Hussein also slammed the President’s repeated threat to human rights groups critical of his administration‘s policies.
“On the issue of human rights workers who are part of the drug trade or human rights workers who obstruct justice, the President is referring to human rights activists who aid or abet acts of violence during legitimate police operations where authorities have the right of self-defense,” Abella said.
The Palace official also hit back at Hussein for criticizing the detention of Sen. Leila de Lima.
“Finally, Mr. Al Hussein discussed the case of Senator Leila de Lima,” he said. “The incarceration of the lady senator is due to criminal, not political, issues.”
He said it was the court, which is independent from the executive, who ordered the arrest of De Lima for alleged ties to illegal drugs.
“The objective of the President’s campaign against illegal drugs is to preserve the lives of the Filipino people, to prevent the destruction of Filipino families, and to protect the Philippines from becoming a narco state,” he said.