MANILA - MalacaAang on Tuesday said the report of a United Nations (UN) special rapporteur raising concern over the situation of Filipina human rights defenders is "highly misplaced."
"It is based on fake information supplied by partisan groups who are after political mileage believing they could gain it by badmouthing President Rodrigo Roa Duterte," Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a statement.
Panelo described as false the report by UN Special Rapporteur Michel Forst, which cited the detention of Senator Leila de Lima, ouster of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, and arrest of Rappler chief executive officer Maria Ressa as women human rights defenders whose fates were allegedly orchestrated by the administration.
"Attributing the detention of Senator Leila de Lima, the unseating of Atty. Ma. Lourdes Sereno as Chief Justice and the filing of charges against Ms. Maria Ressa as part of the President's policies and alleging that their unfortunate situations were designed by the government to silence them and discourage broader dissent are the same false narratives peddled by the usual cynics of the Administration," he said.
Panelo said De Lima's involvement in drugs, Sereno's non-filing of her Statements of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth, and Ressa's libelous articles are the reasons for the situation they are currently facing.
"The events that led to the present circumstances of these personalities are products of their own doing which all took place prior to the assumption of PRRD to the presidential seat," he said.
"One of the hallmarks of this Administration is its determination in promoting law and order in the country. We will prosecute violators of the law regardless of their social and political status," he added.
Panelo called on the UN Special Rapporteur to "thoroughly verify the facts and circumstances surrounding the aforementioned personalities before reports on their situation are published so as not to stain the integrity and credibility of his office".
He said the Filipinos will "no longer allow themselves to be fooled by the political dramas concocted by the detractors of the Administration".
"It is therefore not surprising that Senator de Lima, Atty. Sereno and Ms. Ressa could not muster public support and their blind followers instead resort to international groups who are clueless of the real situation of the Philippines and gullibly lend their names to such unworthy causes," he added.
Source: Philippines News Agency