A European Union official on Friday welcomed the willingness of the Philippine government to engage with the EU and the international community over extrajudicial killings (EJKs), even as Senator Imee Marcos said the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) insistence to investigate the Duterte administration’s war on drugs was a “diversion.”
EU Special Representative for Human Rights Eamon Gilmore emphasized the Philippines should ensure accountability, in particular those accountable for “Operation Tokhang” which led to thousands of deaths during the term of President Rodrigo Duterte.
However, Sen. Marcos, sister of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., said the ICC probe was a diversion “that is necessary to prop up the false image of Western nations as the unimpeachable protectors of human rights.”
She said the ICC “chooses to prosecute Third World countries but fails to take notice of the wrongdoings of the West.”
Fellow Senator Ramon Revilla Jr. also aired his belief that President Marcos’ decision to fully “disengage” from the ICC that Duterte withdrew the country from “should be the last nail in the coffin” in what he said was the tribunal’s attempts “to meddle in the country’s local affairs.”
Revilla expressed support for the country’s anti-drug efforts, including that of the previous administration carried out by his current colleague, Senator Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa.
Dela Rosa was the chief of the Philippine National Police under Duterte and faces the same charges as the former President at the ICC.
The results of the anti-drug campaign coupled with the support it continues to receive from the public speak for itself, Revilla added.
Another lawmaker, Sen. Risa Hontiveros, however, said that disengaging from the ICC “will embarrass the Philippines on the international stage.”
Gilmore was in the Philippines for the first time as the EU’s Special Representative for Human Rights.
He met with Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo, Chief of the PNP Human Rights Office Gen. Vincent Calanoga, Philippine Representative to the AICHR Aileen Mendiola-Rau, United Nations agencies, civil society groups, and business representatives.
The EU Special Representative also met with jailed ex-Senator Leila de Lima in Camp Crame and had a dialogue with victims of extrajudicial killings during his visit to an EU-supported project called “Paghilom
Programme of Father Flaviano Villanueva.”
“Doing business with the EU means addressing human rights issues”, he said.