News Release

From Presidential Spokesperson Ernie Abella – On UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein’s Statement

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.

Mr. Al Hussein’s broad references about the supposed policies of the President run counter to what he continues to pronounce.

The President has categorically and repeatedly said that there is no shoot-to-kill order. All drug killings are subject to investigations.

Mr. Al Hussein’s allegations miss the context of PRRD’s “threat to bomb schools for indigenous children” and “order to shoot any human rights worker” who is part of the drug trade or who obstructs justice.

On the issue on indigenous schools, it would be better 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. For next year, the IP education program will receive PhP 130.43M, which is largely for capacity building, program support fund for implementation of IP education at the regional and division level.

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.

Finally, Mr. Al Hussein discussed the case of Senator Leila de Lima. The incarceration of the lady senator is due to criminal, not political, issues.

For the record, it is the court, which is independent from the executive, which ordered the arrest of Senator De Lima for drug trafficking charges and for allegedly receiving money from drug dealers at the National Penitentiary.

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.