Rights probe smacks of US bullying — JV

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THE hearing set to be conducted by the United States House of Representatives is another case of diplomatic bullying “we have come to expect from the US government,” Senator JV Ejercito said.

“It smacks of hypocrisy as the US has never hesitated to violate human rights when it is to their interests. It is also an affront to our sovereignty,” said Ejercito.

He cited the Duterte administration’s assertion that time  and again,  it respected human rights even as it was determined to solve the problem of illegal drugs that had ruined many Filipino lives.

The US House’s Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, a bi-partisan caucus, is set to hold on Thursday a hearing on “the human rights consequences of the ‘war on drugs’ currently under way in the Philippines.”

Senator JV Ejercito

Sought for his comment on the US investigation. Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III replied, “the more investigations, the merrier.” 

Pimentel said he would ask for a copy of the report after the conduct of the US investigation to compare it the Senate committee report. “We have nothing to hide,” he also said.

Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III said the US Congress had no business over our sovereignty unless they were pro-drugs.

This was the same view expressed by Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto although he said he disagreed with the Duterte administration’s disregard for human rights in the war against drugs.

But detained Senator Leila de Lima said the probe by the US legislative body  was very much welcome, adding the probe was appropriate because human rights issues were universal. 

She said the entire world must really monitor what’s happening in the Philippines particularly on the issue of human rights. 

“So it is needed since our  domestic authorities are not doing measures to seriously inquire into daily killings, the extrajudicial killings,” said the opposition senator, a staunch critic of Duterte.

Earlier, Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said the US body had no right to summon a Philippine delegation to the hearing.

However, he said they could send to the US Congress available documents earlier presented to the United Nations. 

He said they would make good reading material “for those who want to be fair and those who are real human rights advocates who have due process.”

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