14 September 2016
Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
Dear Mr Al Hussein:
WE are the sovereign people of the Republic of the Philippines. We are sending this petition as an exercise of our collective right to self-determination, which is guaranteed in both the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). By virtue of the right to self-determination, WE, the sovereign people of the Philippines, can freely determine our political status and freely pursue our own economic, social, and cultural development.
Your statement during the 33rd session of the Human Rights Council is based on a superficial understanding of what’s going on in our country (See: http://bit.ly/2cUTVkH)
You have accused our democratically elected president of empowering “police forces to shoot to kill any individual whom they claim to suspect of drug crimes, with or without evidence.” This is reckless. The video attached to this petition debunks your accusations and demonstrates how you are completely out of touch of our reality.
In your statement, you encouraged our country “to extend an invitation to the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions.”
Tell us, Mr Al Hussein, what exactly is the added value of Dr Agnes Callamard’s country visit to the Philippines? Don’t you know that our own government institutions are already conducting investigations regarding this matter? The Philippine Senate, the Philippine Commission on Human Rights, and the Philippine National Police (PNP) are already doing everything they can to investigate, prosecute, and punish the perpetrators of the unlawful killings associated with our country’s war on drugs. Tell us, what special skills and knowledge does Dr Callamard have that could help resolve these incidents? Has she ever ran a State? What exactly are her credentials that could convince us that she would add value to the work already being done by the institutions of our country?
We are extremely disturbed that your office has not done anything to address the dignity of those who were raped, robbed, and murdered by people hooked on shabu (crystal meth), sold by drug cartels, enabled by government protectors. We have been exposed to these heinous crimes almost everyday. Where was your office when shabu destroyed the lives of individuals, families, and communities in our country? The silence of your office during those times tells us that you don’t really care about us.
The truth is: we have been at this war for a long time already. The only difference: we now have a President who has the courage to fight back, who would stake his life, honour, and the presidency in this war -- a war that has been waged for a long time by drug cartels and their government protectors. But along with the political opponents of our President, you and the international community didn’t care about the casualties before because they weren’t attributed to President Duterte whom the world has already vilified.
In your letter, you said that “the people of the Philippines have a right to judicial institutions that are impartial, and operate under due process guarantees; and they have a right to a police force that serves justice.”
Yes, we do have this right, and we are already getting a police force that finally protects us from criminal elements. General Ronald dela Rosa, the Director General of the Philippine National Police, is a man of integrity. We trust him. In fact, 91% of Filipinos trust our President. If you just watched the Philippine Senate Hearing on extrajudicial killings, you would have known this: General dela Rosa is against extrajudicial and vigilante killings. In fact, the PNP is already investigating the deaths linked to illegal drugs.
On August 18, during the Philippine Senate Hearing on extrajudicial killings, General dela Rosa said that of the 899 cases of deaths related to illegal drugs, the PNP has already filed 22 cases; and “most of the suspects are drug pushers who became hitmen of the drug lords.” (See: Rappler, http://bit.ly/2cTSeIc)
But you are right, we need a better judiciary. Just in case you don’t know, during the previous Aquino Administration, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) filed charges against some of the local officials linked with the illegal drug trade. However, as the ex-PDEA chief said, ““We simply lost the cases. After we were able to arrest their people who implicated them, we could not do anything when the case had been dumped” (See: Manila Times, http://bit.ly/29uc0D8) Where was your office during this time?
As the sovereign people of the Republic of the Philippines, we have the ultimate authority to decide what’s good for our country. We are the ones you should convince that we would benefit from your interference in our internal affairs. We didn’t elect you at all, so you should present a stronger case other than that you are the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. So, in addition to convincing us of the added vale of Dr Callamard’s visit, as the sovereign people of the Republic of the Philippines, WE demand the following:
We demand to know where you based your accusations against our democratically elected president. We have a right know this because Article 19(2) of the ICCPR guarantees freedom of information. We demand that you respect our right to know by divulging the basis of your accusations and condemnation.
We demand that your office condemn the massive violations of human dignity that drug cartels and the government protectors have committed in our country and in the rest of the world.
We demand that you use your office to help our government dismantle the network of drug cartels in our country. Help us win our war against drug cartels and their government protectors.
We demand that you use your office to encourage the international community to help our country build more rehabilitation centres. Our country urgently needs them.
We remain steadfast in our quest to reform our country, dismantle the machinery of narco-politics, and reclaim the dignity of our nation from drug cartels and their government protectors.
WE, the sovereign people of the Republic of the Philippines, raise our fists with our president and for our country!