Don’t come uninvited, Duterte’s spox tells UN special rapporteur

Writer: 
by Leila B. Salaverria

MANILA (Philippine Daily Inquirer/ANN) – “Now, my advice: Don’t come to the Philippines when uninvited,” Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said, addressing UN Special Rapporteur Agnes Callamard.

Don’t come to the Philippines unless you’re invited.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque had this to say to UN Special Rapporteur Agnes Callamard, who has been the subject of tirades by President Duterte.

The President said last week he would slap Callamard if she investigated him over alleged extrajudicial killings in his administration’s war on drugs.

The UN human rights office condemned the threat on Tuesday.

Roque said Mr. Duterte should be taken “seriously but not literally,” adding that the President’s attacks on Callamard were due to her conduct when she visited the Philippines earlier this year.

According to Roque, Callamard came to the country “uninvited, despite the fact that at that time, we were already negotiating the requisite invitation required for special rapporteurs to be able to investigate in member nations of the United Nations.”

“So what she did, to come here despite the fact that negotiation was still pending, was an act of bad faith,” he said in a press briefing.

Mr. Duterte, he said, was angered as well when she brought along a doctor who opined that illegal drugs do not cause brain damage—contrary to UN literature that showed prohibited drugs had adverse effects.

“Now, my advice: Don’t come to the Philippines when uninvited,” Roque said.

Callamard came to the country last May not to conduct a fact-finding probe on extrajudicial killings, but to attend a drug policy forum. She was invited by the Free Legal Assistance Group.

Asked about this fact, Roque said Callamard should have “resisted” the invitation since there were ongoing negotiations about her official visit to the country.

He also said that during that visit, she still commented on matters that should have been investigated first.

“So the position of the Palace is, how could she have come up with conclusions when she had not yet conducted an investigation? To us, because she already had conclusions even before an investigation, she has preconceived conclusions about the issue of alleged killings in the drug war,” Roque said.

Mr. Duterte has met criticism of his blood-soaked war on drugs with insults and threats, and has accused foreign parties who commented on it with meddling in Philippine affairs.