News Release

From the Presidential Spokesperson – On Rupert Colville’s Press Briefing Note on PRRD and Dr Agnes Callamard

We note the concerns of Spokesperson Rupert Colville of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, however, he should do well not to judge the colorful language the President is known for, but by what he stands for and the values he holds dear.

We need to point that the President’s remarks on Callamard were addressed to a Filipino audience who are used to the Chief Executive’s unorthodox rhetoric.

Ms Callamard, we reiterate, is not a competent and impartial rapporteur on our anti-drug campaign. The way she conducted herself does not befit her office. Lest we forget, she came unannounced to the country in May this year even while the terms of her official visit were still being finalized. And she did so using an event organized by a group that was extremely critical of the administration and presenting herself as a resource person for that event. Her arrogance in going through the back-door not only went against protocol, but is deeply insulting.

We therefore hope that Spokesperson Colville would also take time to look into the manner on how human rights experts ought to conduct their business with and in States concerned, i.e., in an unbiased and transparent manner free of all political machinations in accordance with their code of conduct and ethics.

President Duterte’s standing offer to host a Global Human Rights Summit shows that this administration welcomes disinterested and apolitical human rights experts in the country. We believe there must be a venue for dialogue where human rights, given the wide array of rights it covers, can be discussed from a global perspective and not from the view of politicized individuals.

Further, being appointed recently as Presidential Adviser on Human Rights concurrent with my being the Presidential Spokesperson, I will take steps to ensure that the Philippines discharges its obligations in protecting and promoting human rights, especially the right to life.