On Duterte's alleged order not to release information on activist killings to CHR

We are aware that the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) has been conducting investigations on the attacks and killings of human rights defenders based on the complaints filed before their offices and on the testimonies given during their public inquiry in September 2019. We are no longer surprised if indeed there is such an order given by President Rodrigo Duterte to the Philippine National Police (PNP) not to release or share information with regards to the CHR's investigation — which PNP spokesperson Brigadier General Bernard Banac insisted is "independent and separate" from the PNP's standard protocols.

As we have stated, we have observed that the killings of human rights defenders are being conducted upon the current administration's order — with its complicity and tolerance written all over the acts of government officials and State forces before, during, and after the said killings. 

If what Harry Roque and the PNP say is true, then where is PNP's own report on the investigations to "unmask those behind these brazen killings?" Why hasn't it been submitted to the CHR and why is the PNP insistent on refusing to cooperate with the CHR in their investigations? Did they submit this report to United Nations (UN) High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet? Why haven't they made public the contents of this report? What are the salient points of the report? Have they prosecuted or convicted anyone who conducted these killings? If they had this report, why are there no developments in the cases of killings? Why don't they submit this report to UN Special Rapporteurs who haven't received their replies for years on communications regarding these killings? 

Without a substantial response to these questions, their statements just further bolster the conclusion that State forces are indeed accountable for these killings, or that the State has extremely failed in its obligation to deliver justice and exact accountability.

Cristina Palabay
Karapatan Secretary General