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Re: False and Baseless Accusations of Loida Nicolas Lewis against the NTF-ELCAC

In an online forum, Loida Nicolas Lewis stated, among others: Our call to action, number one, we call on the US and Canadian government to suspend provision of all security assistance in the Philippines until the human rights situation has improved and all human rights violators are investigated and held accountable.

Number two, we call on the US and Canadian government to employ targeted sanctions via the Magnitsky Act against human rights violations in the Philippines including but not limited to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict and others.

Ms. Lewis also called on the Philippine government for the release of jailed senator Leila de Lima following the recantation of what she tagged as the “three key witnesses,” among other demands.

Ms. Lewis ought to know that the Republic of the Philippines is a sovereign state. Its sovereignty emanates from its people and not from any foreign jurisdiction. Appallingly, as a lawyer, it is elementary for her to know that urging a state to meddle into the internal affairs of another or to commit an internationally wrongful act by misleading it with false accusations is unethical and grossly reprehensible for a member of the bar.

What is more outrageous is her call to release jailed Senator Leila de Lima, while her case is pending before a court of competent jurisdiction, a contemptuous act to the court that is not expected from a member of the bar. The liability of the President or of a superior under the doctrine of command responsibility for alleged violation of human rights requires the elements of(1) knowledge and (2) the failure of the superior to take necessary measures to prevent criminal act or punish the perpetrator thereof despite that knowledge, among others.

Without any piece of evidence that could establish the responsibility or accountability of the President or of an officer, aside from the general allegations of human rights violations, the Court does not automatically impute responsibility to the President. In fact, the President himself declared his policy for the law enforcers to adhere to the established rules on engagement in implementing the law.

Likewise, uniformed personnel who were found responsible for any infraction of the law are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Ergo, negating any liability on the part of the President under the foregoing doctrine.

The call for targeted sanctions against the President and the NTF ELCAC who are dutifully performing their mandate to end the more than 5-decade local communist armed conflict in the country is counter-productive. In contrast, it sends a clear signal that those who call to discourage the NTF-ELCAC from performing its mandate benefit from the continued existence of the communist terrorist groups.

For our part, we call on other jurisdictions to exercise restraint and to uphold the rudimentary international principle of respect towards a co-equal and sovereign state.

We, therefore, urge them to genuinely fight terrorism alongside the NTF-ELCAC by curtailing the flow of funds from their country to communist terrorist groups in the Philippines.

Finally, while the Philippines welcomes the support of friendly nations, in terms of security assistance, inter alia, the Philippines will nevertheless pursue its independent foreign policy guided by its paramount consideration: the national sovereignty, territorial integrity, national interest, and the right to self-determination.

Thus, the Philippines rejects any form of meddling or unwarranted interference from any other jurisdiction that is inconsistent with its mandate from the People.

National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict Legal Cooperation Cluster (LCC)



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