Karapatan refutes Lorenzana: Duterte admin leaves a legacy of impunity, rights crisis in PH

Photo by Ezra Acayan/AP Images

Photo by Ezra Acayan/AP Images

Claiming that the Duterte administration advanced or protected human rights is simply outrageous! General Delfin Lorenzana must be living in an alternative reality: notwithstanding President Rodrigo Duterte’s repeated explicit statements showing his blatant disregard for human rights, reports by independent international and domestic bodies all point to this undeniable fact: the Duterte administration will leave behind a legacy of impunity and a massive human rights crisis in the Philippines.

The June 2020 report of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights concluded that “[p]ersistent impunity for human rights violations is stark, and practical obstacles to accessing justice within the country are almost insurmountable.” Despite this report and amid widespread calls for the UN Human Rights Council to conduct an independent investigation into the situation in the Philippines, the Duterte administration has not heeded the report’s recommendations to end these murderous campaigns and programs: in fact, President Duterte has continued them, and he wants the next administration to continue them.

Even more damning is the International Criminal Court’s decision to open an investigation into the alleged crimes against humanity in the course of the Duterte administration’s drug war. It is a clear indication of the failure of so-called domestic accountability mechanisms to hold perpetrators accountable — and this is further underscored by the Commission on Human Rights’ report on drug-related killings, which put in no uncertain terms that the Duterte administration “encouraged a culture of impunity.”

Various human rights organizations and international bodies have condemned the crimes against humanity in the sham and brutal drug war and raised alarm over grave human rights violations in the government’s counterinsurgency campaigns led by Duterte’s National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict, as well as the draconian provisions of the Anti-Terrorism Act. That Lorenzana has the audacity to cite these acts as the government’s achievements is just sheer and shameless evasion of State accountability.

As President Duterte faces his last 30 days in power, our calls to hold him accountable for crimes against the Filipino people will only grow louder — and in the face of the Marcos-Duterte administration taking the reins, the people’s struggle for justice and resistance to tyranny will only grow more urgent.

Cristina Palabay
Karapatan Secretary General