A hailstorm of allegations, all unfounded, is being hurled against the administration, with President Rodrigo Duterte as prime target, in the death of nine activists in a series of police raids in Cavite, Laguna, Batangas and Rizal provinces in what is billed as the “Bloody Sunday” massacre.
The Philippine Permanent Mission to the United Nations protested against the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) after it followed the line of detractors led by Vice President Leni Robredo in insinuating foul play on the incident.
OHCHR said it was appalled by what appears to be “the simultaneous arbitrary killings of nine activists in the Philippines during police-military operations in provinces surrounding the metropolitan area of the capital Manila.”
The UN mission stated the OHCHR in issuing the statement prejudged legitimate police operations against persons possessing dangerous firearms and explosive devices.
More so, the country’s representative office called the action of the rights body as an “overreach,” which the Duterte administration always falls victim to, since foreign groups instigated by the yellow opportunists often meddle in domestic issues that are already being addressed.
“There is no basis for calling deaths resulting from these operations as ‘arbitrary killings.’ Operations were carried out strictly within the bounds of law, on 40 search warrants secured by the police after a rigorous legal process,” the country’s diplomats in the UN countered the OHCHR observation.
It added that in the Philippines, legitimate police operations where deaths occur are subject to automatic investigations.
The Philippine office cited the various firearms and explosives the police seized from persons who were the subjects of warrants.
“Videos show search ops to be lawful and in order. We ask OHCHR to correct hasty opinions favoring violators of the law and instead support efforts to uphold law and order,” it added.
Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo noted that Vice President Leni Robredo, who is a lawyer, did not fare better than the nitpickers.
In his online program Counterpoint, the Palace official noted that Robredo uttered “murderous regime” in a television interview without offering proof about it.
Panelo said murder is a serious accusation that necessitates proof before it is even alleged.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque also dared Robredo to show evidence first that cops murdered the nine activists before calling the incident a “massacre.”
Roque indicated that the government will fight back, through the courts, and warned Robredo that she could face a case if she fails to substantiate her claim about the “murder” of the activists.
“If she fails to show evidence, that’s also a crime. She might be charged,” he said.
OHCHR also cited rhetoric “that may lead to violations,” which again is a line that has been extracted from allegations of the President’s political foes, that the inflammatory words of the President incited the series of deaths during the police operations.
Both the Department of Justice-led panel on extrajudicial killings and the Commission on Human Rights are looking into the incident, which makes foreign intervention redundant.
For more than four years, the spin that the President’s incendiary manner of speaking resulted to extrajudicial killings was debunked on several occasions.
The fact that the lie is endlessly repeated proves that the agenda has a political hue.