Senator dela Rosa wants to live in a cave

GENEVA, Switzerland -- The United Nations Human Rights Committee is not interfering in our country’s sovereignty in issuing its recommendations on the human rights situation in the Philippines.

The Philippines is a signatory to and has ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, as well as its Optional Protocols 1 and 2. It actively participated in the review regarding its compliance to the ICCPR by submitting a national report, belated as it is, a reply to list of issues and through a high-level mission led by no less than Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla last October. In fact, Sec. Remulla is again set to arrive here on Monday, November 14, to participate in the United Nations Human Rights Council universal periodic review on the human rights situation in the Philippines. The Philippine government cannot have its cake and throw it too.

Senator dela Rosa’s parochial and jingoistic view is pathetically uneducated. He is sorely mistaken in thinking that waving the sovereignty flag before the world would save him in the upcoming trials against him, former President Rodrigo Duterte and several others before the International Criminal Court for the deaths of thousands under Oplan Tokhang they implemented. But the Philippine government is legally bound to uphold and implement these international human rights treaties. Not even its withdrawal from the Rome Statute that created the ICC would stop the process when the complaints were submitted before the Duterte administration made its obvious cop-out.

The honorable thing to do for the Philippine government is to abide faithfully and genuinely by its obligations and commitments. It must cease from believing its own propaganda. It must stop human rights violations in the country and finally allow justice for all the victims. Any attempt to wiggle its way out is a further injustice and undermines the basic rules and relations in the community of nations.