IN RESPONSE TO THE CHR CLAIM THAT THE PRESIDENT ORDERED INFORMATION ON KILLINGS WITHHELD
In a recent ANC interview, Commission on Human Rights Commissioner Leah Tanodra-Armamento claimed that the President gave direct orders to the Philippine National Police to withhold information from the CHR that they need to investigate certain killings.
This is an outright and brazen lie because the President gave no such orders. The Philippine National Police has categorically denied Armamento’s allegations as well.
The truth is there are mechanisms in place to competently handle these cases because the State is fully invested in Justice being served and for Law and Order to prevail in our country.
No less than the Justice Secretary, Menardo Guevarra has said that the committee assigned for these cases—the Inter Agency Committee on Extra Legal Killings, Enforced Disappearances, Torture and Other Grave Violations of Life, Liberty and Security of Persons or Administrative Order No. 35—will be put to task after preliminary investigations are done.
And the CHR is part of this committee where data and documents Armamento claims are being withheld from them on direct orders by the President are freely shared and available.
Instead of respecting mechanisms that have already been put in place by the State, the CHR went straight to media with their inaccuracies and blatantly and seriously lied about the President.
The President is a man of the law and he has, since sitting in office, endeavored to teach every Filipino what so many of us have forgotten- the Majesty of the Law, our adherence to it and the place this adherence has in moving our country forward.
Indeed, one of the hallmarks of the Duterte Administration is how our President is imbued with the clarity of the Law that had, with the passage of time, been clouded with confusion because of corruption and the indifference of those who sat in office.
And this has resulted in the enormous sufferings of our people in the hands of criminals and terrorists who hide behind prostituted laws and the inability of the law to protect its own citizens.
This has also resulted in a Commission on Human Rights that has become unclear about its mandate.
Most notably, under the leadership of Chito Gascon, the CHR has allowed itself to be a political instrument used to persecute the government as government goes about its job of protecting its citizens from criminals and terrorists who have run roughshod over the rights of the most vulnerable, the most helpless among us.
Rather than serving as the constitutional check and balance instrument that it was meant to be, the CHR has chosen, time and again, to attack the integrity of the State unjustly.
It has unfairly fostered animosity towards government and has continuously painted a grossly inaccurate picture of the human rights situation of the country all the way to the international arena rather than create an objective space where the protection of human rights is possible.
If they had any shame and honor about them, they should step down and let those who can perform this function so essential in a vibrant democracy such as ours do what it is they are unable to do: the protection of every Filipino’s sacred rights—more so the most vulnerable among us who have, for decades, borne the brunt of the most vicious attacks from the most inhumane among us—monsters so devoid of conscience and so totally stripped of their humanity.
Undersecretary Lorraine Marie T. Badoy
NTF ELCAC Spokesperson