UN Special Rapporteur to visit the Philippines
BY AL JACINTO
The Manila Times
ZAMBOANGA CITY: The International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines (ICHRP) said it welcomes the recent announcement by Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla that UN Special Rapporteur Morris Tidball-Binz, a forensic doctor, will visit the country next year. ICHRP Chairperson Peter Murphy said as Special Rapporteur on an extrajudicial, summary, and arbitrary executions, Tidball-Binz’s visit would be an important next step in the process of seeking justice for the thousands of victims of extrajudicial killings under the previous Duterte government, as well as the current Marcos government. As reported by Investigate PH, in which Philippine forensic expert Dr. Rachel Fortun served as one of the expert witnesses, thousands of extrajudicial and arbitrary killings allegedly took place under the term of former president Rodrigo Duterte. The Philippine National Police admit to over 6,600 such killings. But despite the abundant evidence that these killings took place, only 25 police officers have been charged so far in relation to the war on drugs, according to Remulla’s report to member states of the Human Rights Council on November 14. Other targets of alleged EJKs under Duterte’s war on dissent were human rights defenders, journalists, lawyers, indigenous leaders, peasants, and labor leaders. Even under the new Marcos administration, these killings continue: radio journalist Percival “Percy Lapid” Mabasa was killed in a plot allegedly orchestrated by a senior government official recently. “Given this recent announcement, we reiterate our call to the Marcos administration for an open, transparent, and thorough investigation of these crimes, and justice for all victims and their families. This means investigation and prosecution of all perpetrators of such crimes, and an end to the state of impunity which has allowed so many members of the police force to avoid prosecution so far,” Murphy said. “ICHRP also echoes the call of at least ten Human Rights Council member states to the Philippine government to re-join the International Criminal Court and cooperate with the ICC’s ongoing investigation into the crime against humanity of murder during the so-called war on drugs,” he added.