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Cayetano says he succeeded in UN

PHNOM PENH – Senator and incoming Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano yesterday insisted that he succeeded in defending the country’s anti-drug war before the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva, Switzerland.

Cayetano denied claims that his presentation failed during the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) by the UNHRC of the country’s rights situation and the war against illegal drugs.

“I’m willing to resign, to be jailed, to be exiled if my presentation was wrong, or if I intentionally misled anyone. Everything I presented was based on facts, on actual numbers,” Cayetano said.

He said the allegations about extrajudicial killings (EJKs) in the Philippines have been around since the administration of former president Benigno Aquino III.

Cayetano said that since 2012, the same countries have been criticizing the Philippines over extrajudicial killings.

“I’m not saying that we have convinced them that it’s not so. But we opened their eyes, minds and hearts to the fact that there are two sides to the story,” Cayetano said.

After deliberating for three hours, the UNHRC completed last week the UPR on the Philippines’ rights condition.

During a press conference on Dutertenomics at the World Economic Forum here, Cayetano told foreign journalists that there is no truth to reports of human rights abuses in the Philippines.

He invited journalists to visit the country and see for themselves the real situation.

The senator said he is willing to face the consequences if proven that his presentation about the killings is wrong.

The issue on EJKs is not new for the Philippines, he said, citing Administrative Order 35 signed by Aquino creating an inter-agency committee that would handle cases of EJKs, enforced disappearances, torture and other violation of human rights.

“So they said, if it’s not cause-oriented, media or religious group, its not extrajudicial killing,” he said.

Cayetano lamented that under the present Duterte administration, all killings – even homicide cases – are described as extrajudicial and attributed to the President.

“Our direct question is: ‘Why are you using this term? Why are you using these numbers?’ They said it all came from the pronouncement of the President,” he said.

“But the numbers they were using was not based on the old definition. I’m saying that if they should use the old definition, we should accept the fact that before Duterte assumed the presidency, there were 11 to 16,000 cases every year, or 77,000 in the last six years,” he added.

Cayetano said he asked the UN to send an independent team and not the one headed by UN special rapporteur Agnes Callamard.

“The first team the UN wanted to send has already made its own judgment even before setting foot in the country. Dr. Callamard has made up her mind on what is happening here. For her, everything was extrajudicial killings,” he said, adding Callamard is not an expert on EKJs, forced disappearances and abduction.

The senator said Callamard is not an expert on drugs as she was a teacher on government accountability and communications.

He said it is the job of the government to give an accurate report, which was what his team did in Geneva.

“Will they believe it? It’s up to them. But we gave our side and then we opened it up to investigation,” he said.

Cayetano says he succeeded in UN Cayetano says he succeeded in UN Reviewed by AsianPolicy.Press on 2:13:00 AM Rating: 5

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