Press Release
April 20, 2022

Dispatch from Crame No. 1248:
Sen. Leila M. de Lima on Malacañang's and DND's reaction to the 2021 US State Department report on PH human rights abuses


Malacañang's and the Department of National Defense's reaction to the 2021 US State Department report on human rights abuses in the Philippines is a product of their indolent and superficial review of said report.

If they actually read the report, instead of insulting the information-gathering capabilities of the United States, they would find that the report included a scathing portion on rights violations committed by the NPA, such as revolutionary taxation and the recruitment of child soldiers, among others. Part of the data used by the State Department came from the DND-AFP and other Philippine government agencies, as they are fully cited in the report.

Are Malacañang and the DND saying that this State Department report on abuses committed by the NPA is also not true? Are they saying that the data on CPP-NPA abuses sourced by the State Department from the AFP is also a product of "infirmed intelligence-gathering" by the US, as described by Palace spox Martin Andanar?

In their knee-jerk reaction to the State Department report, Malacañang and the DND simply dismissed the entirety of the report, without bothering to notice that a large part of the report was sourced from official Philippine government data. As such, if the State Department report contains "infirm intelligence", according to Andanar, then Philippine government data must also be the source of this infirmity.

Of course, the Duterte government can always say that it is only rejecting those parts of the report that attribute human rights abuses to state security forces. But that would be a clear case of cherry-picking. Malacañang cannot ignore the evidence already gathered by other international organizations, such as Amnesty International, which result in the same findings of prevalent human rights abuses, if not crimes against humanity, committed by the Duterte administration.

As he nears the end of his term, Duterte, with his Malacañang stooges, must already be so tired of parrying incontrovertible reports of human rights abuses that they are just waiting for it to be over and done with. But the end of Duterte's term will just be the beginning of their reckoning.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) will continue to pursue the case against them for crimes against humanity. The State Department and Amnesty International Reports, among many other evidence and information gathering efforts undertaken by international organizations, will only serve to buttress the ICC case against Duterte and all those responsible for human rights violations under his regime. ###

(Access the handwritten version of Dispatch from Crame No. 1248, here:

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