News Release

Palace: Only credible Special Rapporteurs allowed to probe PH

Malacañang on Tuesday, February 27, underscored that any investigation to be conducted by a United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur should have proper consent from the state party.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. said this in a Palace press briefing, amid calls for the Duterte government to lift the conditions allowing a special rapporteur to probe the alleged extrajudicial killings in the country.

“To those familiar with the Special Rapporteur’s system, all investigations must be consented to by state parties. And there’s no one that can compel a state party to allow an investigation if it does not want to do so,” Roque stressed.

The Spokesperson said it is also the state party’s prerogative on which special rapporteur could visit the Philippines for an investigation.

“If they’re going to send a special rapporteur to the Philippines, it must be someone credible, someone who is an authority in the field that they seek to investigate in, and must be objective and unbiased,” he noted.

Roque, who is also the Presidential adviser on human rights, said he would recommend to the President to allow a particular special rapporteur to look into the killings being linked to the administration’s anti-drug war.

“As I said, the effectivity of a special rapporteur depends on their character, their credibility, their trustworthiness,” he noted.

The Cabinet official said he would definitely not recommend UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions Agnes Callamard to conduct the probe.

Roque earlier slammed Callamard for coming to the Philippines last year uninvited, and while negotiations on the invitation required for special rapporteurs to investigate in UN member nations were still pending.

He described Callamard’s unofficial visit to the country as “an act of bad faith.”

“As I have said before, it’s her fault that the home state does not want her in,” Roque said during this Tuesday’s briefing.

He said part of the qualifications of a special rapporteur is to be trustworthy enough so that the UN member nation would consent to the investigation.

“The fact that there is no way that Agnes Callamard can be allowed to investigate in the Philippines proves that she has failed in this regard,” Roque noted.

Excise tax collections up by 82-percent due to TRAIN law

During the same press briefing, Malacañang announced that the government’s year-on-year excise tax collection rose to nearly 82 percent in January, due to the implementation of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Act.

Secretary Roque said the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) collected P22.078 billion worth of taxes from cigarettes, cars, and sugar-sweetened beverages in January, exceeding the P20.501-billion target for that month.

The Spokesperson further said up to 30 percent of the incremental revenues from the TRAIN law will be allocated to the government’s social protection programs.

This includes Unconditional Cash Transfer (UCT) for affected sectors like indigent senior citizens, as well as the Pantawid Pasada program for jeepney drivers and operators, Roque cited. ### PCO-Content