Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said
on Thursday that the government would not send any representative to a US
congressional inquiry into extrajudicial killings under President Duterte’s
Cayetano said he had instructed the
Philippine Embassy in Washington to instead send the US House of
Representatives’ Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission a copy of the government’s
report to the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in May.
As a senator, Cayetano led a Philippine
delegation to the UNHRC’s universal periodic review (UPR) session, where he
denied allegations of a wave of state-sponsored summary executions in Mr.
Duterte’s war on drugs.
“All I’m saying is, they are not the United
Nations, they are not our boss, so they have no right to summon us. Now if they
invite us as a guest, then we’ll make an assessment and decide whether to go,”
Cayetano told ABS-CBN News.
He said the US Congress should not be
“fooled” by advocates who had a political agenda.
“But we’re making it very clear that we
don’t report to them, and to be fair they are not asking us to report to them.
It’s really how the media portrays the hearing but the hearing is for them
internally,” Cayetano stressed.
According to its website, Lantos’
commission will call three witnesses on July 20: iDefend Philippines
spokesperson Ellecer Carlos, Amnesty International’s Matthew Wells and
Human Rights Watch’s Phelim Kine.
The witnesses will “provide policy
recommendations for ensuring accountability for human rights violations” and
addressing the drug problem while upholding public health and the rule of law.
Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella on
Thursday dismissed suggestions that the US inquiry would affect diplomatic ties
between Manila and Washington.
“Our relationships are based on other
things rather than these temporal matters,” Abella told reporters.
respect the views of the commission and we greatly value the support of the
United States that they have given to us and continue to give our country as we
address our important economic and social development objectives,” Abella said.
He said the issues in the commission
hearing “must be discussed in the context of the scope of the challenge that we
face and the actions that we are taking to address it.”