Agnes Callamard, United Nations special rapporteur on summary executions, specified a number of conditions before her visit to the Philippines to probe the rising incidents of drug-related killings in the country.
This piece of information was disclosed through Senator Bam Aquino by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) in the 2017 national budget Senate deliberations. Aquino, who is the vice chair of the Senate finance committee, sponsored the DFA budget for approval.
Aquino conveyed, “In the invitation letter [sent by the Philippines], there were some conditions set. She has responded already with her own conditions.”
The conditions set include freedom of movement in the whole country, which includes transport facilities particularly restricted areas; establishing contacts with central and local authorities as well as representatives of NGOs, private institutions and the media; an extension of invitation towards the UN special rapporteur on health; confidential and unsupervised contact with witnesses and other private persons, which shall include persons deprived of their right due to their job’s mandate; unrestricted access to all relevant documents; government assurance that persons she initiated contact with not be subjected to punishment or judicial proceedings; and apply security arrangements that do not limit her freedom of movement or inquiry as mentioned before.
Dated September 26, a letter was sent to Callamard signed by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea.
When asked by Senator Leila De Lima as to the Philippine government’s conditions on the visit, Aquino disclosed that one of the conditions “insisted” by the President is to hold “a public debate between himself and the UN special rapporteur.”
According to Aquino, Callamard had no reply on this specific condition set by the President and that next week, an inter-agency body will discuss the conditions set by both the government and Callamard.