BY RIGOBERTO D. TIGLAO
ON MARCH 17, 2017
I WAS shocked at Vice President Leni Robredo’s video message sent to the UN Commission on Narcotics Drugs to be played at its 60th meeting today.
Either this lady is so naïve, or so stupid, that she doesn’t really know the gravity of her message, which I suspect she doesn’t, since she was reading the message, obviously done by a Liberal Party writer, as fast as she could.
She even had the kind of facial expression with a smile that VIPs have when they send congratulatory messages to some group on their celebration – while she was talking of thousands of Filipinos killed. Or she has been totally deluded by the narrative of the Yellow Cult desperate to get foreign help to overthrow President Duterte.
Whichever is the case, Robredo shames the nation by portraying the Philippines as a failed state like Somalia, Eritrea or Liberia where the rule of law has totally broken down, and where the streets are littered with the corpses of the innocent killed by the police. She shames herself as she makes allegations against her own government, based on patently false data.
I found it astonishing that as she spoke she even had the official seal of the Vice President and the Republic. But she was really speaking not as the Vice President but probably as the last of the Yellow Cult leaders.
Robredo smiling as she claims to a UN body that thousands of Filipinos have been summarily executed in Duterte’s anti-drug war. (Screen grab from the video message sent to the UN posted on her official website.)
We should all be outraged over Robredo’s message, and Congress must issue a resolution condemning her, and transmitting this to the UN body. Our ambassador to the UN must protest why the body allowed (if indeed it did, since as of press time I cannot confirm if her video message was played or not) at their meeting such an unfair and biased picture of the country’s campaign against drugs. Isn’t it protocol for such international bodies to play only official messages from countries’ official representatives?
Let’s take up point by point Robredo’s claims in her video.
“We are now looking at some very grim statistics: since July last year, more than 7,000 people have been killed in summary executions,” Robredo claimed.
This number is false, a fake news.
This 7,000 figure as the total number of extra-judicial killings that Robredo has disseminated to the world is one maliciously fabricated by a low-level biased or incompetent researcher, and posted by the yellow and lazy editors of the rappler.com newsite on March 13, 2017. This number has been repeated again and again by the Yellow Cult, and even by uninformed media abroad. Rappler even has misled readers by claiming that the “numbers are based on data” from the Philippine National Police.
The number is the sum of the 2,555 which the PNP Directorate for Operations reported as those killed in anti-illegal drugs operations from July 1 to January 24 and the 4,525 total murder cases in the country. The PNP data of course does not distinguish whether these murder cases are police and vigilante killings of those involved in illegal drugs, road-rage murders, or even crimes of passion.
Because of rappler.com people’s odium against Duterte though, it classified all murders that occurred since he took power in July 1 last year were due to his anti-illegal drugs war.
I will discuss in detail this grand lie of rappler.com in a future column. Suffice it to point out now that a more realistic figure would be one based on “The Kill List” of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, hardly a pro-Duterte newspaper. To their credit as rigorous journalists, the paper listed, based on police blotters and the dispatches of their police reporters, killings related to the anti-drug war, from July 1 to Feb. 16, when government officially halted, temporarily, its campaign.
“The Kill List” (last update of which was on February 16) reported 2,166 killed in the anti-drug war. This includes those killed in police operations as well as by “unknown hitmen”. It does not explain though the criteria by which it listed a person killed by “unknown hitmen” as due to the anti-drug campaign. Indeed, the police has uncovered several instances in which those killed with anti-drug placards pinned on them, actually were executed by criminal, rival gangs themselves.
The 2,166 figure is obviously so different, three times smaller than the 7,000 figure Robredo told the UN body, which would drastically change an assessment of Duterte’s anti-drug war.
‘People told…some told’
Robredo said in her message to the UN body:
“People are told they do not have any right to demand search warrants as they are squatters… Residents are rounded up, women separated from men and those with tattoos have their belongings searched. People are told they don’t have any right to demand search warrants since they are squatters… Some have told us that when there’s a crime they normally go to the police. Now they don’t know where to turn. Our people feel both hopeless and helpless.”
But Robredo doesn’t present any iota of evidence for her claims, not even a single instance of the human rights violations she alleges, not even newspaper reports on these; nor does she refer to any report detailing her accusations.
“People told… some have told… they…our people…” Are these real people, or are these just Liberal Party propagandists?
It gets worse though. Robredo in her message to the UN body made it appear that the rule of law in our country has so totally broken down that victims of human rights violations are given no recourse:
“Around 500 cases have been filed at the Commission on Human Rights, recommended to the Department of Justice for the filing of cases. So far, seven months into the administration’s drug war, no information has been filed,” she claimed.
This is a lie. I was told by insiders that there are no such “500 cases” filed regarding human rights violations in the course of Duterte’s administration at the commission, which continues to be led by Robredo’s Liberal Party colleague Jose Gascon. This is simply because the commission has never even bothered to list and count such complaints. The 500 figure is clearly one pulled out of the air by Robredo’s speech writer.
Not a case filed
But even if there were such cases filed, I was told, the CHR has not filed at the justice department a single case of human rights violations against the police related to the anti-drug war. “CHR attorneys appear on television complaining about this and that, but they haven’t even filed a single case,” a source said.
If no charges have been filed against the police and the Duterte administration, it is the fault of the CHR, led by Robredo’s comrade, a Liberal Party official. There have been three complaints of extra-judicial killings related to the anti-drug war under Duterte’s watch, none though because of the CHR’s efforts.
Robredo even shockingly draws from some mafia novel by claiming that the police have had a policy of arresting a suspect’s wife or other relatives if he can’t be found, even calling it, in her attempt to get her lie to land on sensationalist tabloid front pages, the “palit-ulo scheme”.
If there were really such a scheme, anti-Duterte newspapers like the Philippine Daily Inquirer and the Philippine Star as well as the dozens of tabloids hungry for sensationalist scoops would have reported it long ago. But they haven’t.
An administration spokesman, however, claimed that Robredo must have mistaken it for a police practice of letting an arrested suspect go free, or accused only of lighter charges, in exchange for squealing on a suspect in the higher rungs of the drug syndicates.
There has been no unprincipled and noisy, or even blissfully imbecilic Vice President as Robredo who has been demonizing an incumbent President, and portraying the country as such a horrible place.
Resign as VPLeading opposition leader Benigno Aquino, Jr. was told in 1968 by his scheming Liberal Party colleagues that there were reports of two dozen Muslim trainees summarily executed by their Army superiors in Corregidor, which they had even dubbed to sensationalize it as the “Jabidah Massacre”,
Aquino however investigated the claim himself, and even went to Jolo where he found the alleged victims alive and kicking, astonished at the “massacre reports”. Even on exile in the US, Aquino didn’t portray the Philippines as having become a horrible place under Marcos, but focused on the country’s need for democracy. Neither did his widow Cory try to portray Marcos as a cold-blooded killer.
Then Vice President Gloria Arroyo, even after she resigned from President Estrada’s Cabinet in October 2000, wasn’t vitriolic at all in criticizing him, and openly asked for his resignation only after it was clear that he had lost the people’s mandate.
Those opposing Duterte’s regime have all the right to accuse him of this or that, even on just the flimsiest basis. But Robredo can’t as Vice President, since when she does that, she is representing the people, and I’m sure most Filipinos do not support her hate of Duterte.
If she thinks she is morally required to protest, then she should do real work in gathering real data r to back her allegations, rather than rely on fake news by such biased outfits as rappler.com.
If she wants to continue ranting against Duterte, she has to resign as Vice President, and send the messages like that she sent to the UN as one by a Liberal Party official.
If this is the kind of leader the Liberal Party thinks they can impose on this nation, they should give up all hope and should dissolve the party immediately, so its ambitious members can pursue their dreams using the vehicle of other more credible parties.
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