Every nation has the right to demand proper treatment and no country should violate the territory of any other country — Mustafa Kemal Ataturk
In recent weeks, there has been a slow but unmistakable intrusion of foreign interest groups into Philippine affairs. The interference was initially focused on the deaths attributed to the war on drugs declared by President Rodrigo Duterte.
No less than the United Nations (UN) poked into Philippine affairs with rapporteurs directly chiding Duterte over the rising incidents of deaths that are still being investigated by the police – displaying a bias towards the new President.
Agnes Callamard, UN special rapporteur on summary executions, said Duterte’s statements endorsing the killing of drug suspects are “irresponsible in the extreme and amount to incitement to violence and killing, a crime under international law.”
“It is effectively a license to kill,” Callamard added.
Callamard, of course, spoke from a western perspective that leaves no room for the language that Duterte has used effectively against criminals going back to the time when he assumed as mayor of the then violent and crime-ridden city of Davao.
To many Filipinos, however, it is interesting to consider that they have yet to hear Callamard say anything about innocent citizens butchered by drug-crazed criminals in previous years when no less than powerful figures identified with the government participated in the drug trade either as coddlers or even as pushers.
Meanwhile, Dainius Puras, UN special rapporteur on the right to health, chimed in saying drug dependency should be treated as a public health issue.
Duterte does not make it difficult for the UN functionaries to dislike him given the president’s colorful language and a posturing that indicates he does not exactly worship the ground on which the latter walk on.
“You do not just throw that kind of allegations or statement without even coming here,” Duterte replied, telling the functionaries “you are just relying on the reports of newspapers and tabloids.”
Many Filipinos see logic in Duterte’s observations. A brief glance at the TV or the newspaper will reveal the pontifications of media people who are fixated on Duterte’s ouster from office.
There is no proof that they are directly motivated by the unsubstantiated stories
of the bounty offered by drug and crime syndicates for Duterte’s head but this cannot be discounted.
No person in his right mind would crucify Duterte for waging a war nobody wants unless there are other reasons for doing so.
Callamard declared willingness to visit the country but she is too late, as she had prejudged both Duterte and the war against drugs even before stepping foot on Philippine soil.
There is no more need to elaborate on the statement of Puras. In a country where drugs has penetrated even remote villages, Filipinos certainly no longer need his reminder.
Duterte, and an increasing number of Filipinos, have a legitimate beef against the UN, its rapporteurs and even secretary-general Ban Ki Moon.
The UN has been unable to do anything about the Syrian holocaust and here they are nitpicking on a no-nonsense campaign against drug peddlers that were knocking at the very walls of the highest office in the land until Duterte decided to take on them.
Speaking before the UN Security Council, New Zealand ambassador Carolyn Schwalger lamented that “(i)t is disappointing that we are not able to agree on a response to the horrific humanitarian situation throughout Syria and the looming humanitarian situation in Aleppo (a city in Syria).”
Schwalger’s lament virtually affirmed Duterte’s statement that the UN is inutile.
There is no need to bring in an international expert to declare that there is a whale of a difference between the conditions obtaining in the Philippines and Syria. And yet the rapporteurs who have not been as concerned and interested in Syria seems fixated on the Philippines thereby giving rise to questions about
There is no doubt that the number of deaths attributed to Duterte’s drug war cannot be trivialized. Especially so that among those killed were a minor girl and other people whose guilt are highly improbable.
And yet, the UN functionaries should also be reminded that they must practice what they preach about due process.
As PNP Chief Ronald de la Rosa explained, the deaths particularly those that did not fall under the category of legitimate police operations are still being investigated. The perpetrators could either be criminal elements who are eliminating competition, cleaning up their ranks, or rogue cops and government officials who want to silence potential whistle-blowers.
De la Rosa has shown he does not tolerate shenanigans by promptly dealing with law-enforcers whose involvement in summary killings, an indicator that the Duterte administration does not condone extrajudicial killings.
The UN, however, does not seem to take this into consideration after its functionaries virtually pronounced judgment not only on the government for the deaths that are still the subject of investigation but also on Duterte himself.
It comes just about the same time as drug syndicates, through their supporters in government and the media, have stepped up their propaganda offensive against both the drug war and Duterte.
For a nation of more than 100 million Filipinos, it is interesting to note that there has been no formal complaint raised to the UN except perhaps those by media outlets that have always found fault in Duterte long before he decided to vie for the presidency.
And yet, the UN through its rapporteurs unilaterally and summarily acted on the Philippine drug campaign as though it was the most important concern in the country.
Among other definitions, invasion is described as “an unwelcome intrusion into another’s domain”.
The UN functionaries’ act is, except perhaps for drug syndicates who are feeling the heat of the relentless campaign and those who share their abhorrence for the war against drugs for other reasons, an unwelcome intrusion into purely internal affairs of the Filipinos.
They can take this act somewhere else, Syria for example, and the Philippines would be better off without it. In fact, the suffering people of Syria would benefit greatly if ever Callamard, Puras, Kim and like-minded intruders into Philippine affairs would, by a sudden surge of objectivity, pour out their concern on the Middle Eastern nation.
Their acts constitute an invasion that, intentionally or otherwise, has exerted pressure on a long-overdue campaign against criminal and lawless elements that have corrupted all three branches of government.
It is an intrusion that, wittingly or unwittingly, has given criminal elements and their supporters the respite they desperately needed and from there, hopefully wage a counter-offensive to regain lost territory.
It is a direct interference on the affairs of a duly constituted government elected with an overwhelming mandate and enjoying popular support, opposed only by a handful who think they have the exclusive right to run this country and to impose their version of human rights on the voiceless, powerless and oppressed majority.
Duterte and Filipinos who know what’s best for their country, as Ataturk rightfully pointed out, have the right to demand proper treatment.
As the Turkish statesman correctly stated, no country, not even the UN functionaries in this case, should violate the territory of any other country.
And yet, here it is, happening right before our eyes.
If this is not invasion, the word does not exist.