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Palace insists: PH actions during lockdown lawful, use of force permitted

Palace insists: PH actions during lockdown lawful, use of force permitted

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang on Monday turned down the allegations of a United Nations’ special rapporteur that the Philippine government is acting beyond international law during the COVID-19 pandemic, stressing that the use of force, when “necessary” and “proportional,” is permitted.

In a webinar organized by EcuVoice Philippines, an alliance of human rights and peace organizations, UN special rapporteur for Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions Agnes Callamard what she described as “excessive use of force” by authorities at a time when most countries are under quarantine.

She even noted the Philippines’ history of law enforcement abuses and claimed that the declaration of a state of public health emergency could embolden law enforcers to act with excessive force.

But presidential spokesperson Harry Roque insisted that the Philippine government’s responses are within the bounds of the law.

“I’d like to restate the rule on International Law. The use of force is not prohibited by the State. Provided that it is necessary and it is proportional. And I think that this kind of response, the use of force that we’ve seen, satisfy these criteria,” Roque said in a televised Palace briefing.

“If not, then the appropriate cases will be filed whether be it criminal or administrative which is the duty of the State in case that there is an alleged violation of the right of life,” he added.

Interior Secretary Eduardo Año also claimed that the situation in the country is way better compared to other nations affected by the coronavirus crisis.

“Hindi tayo nagkakaroon ng tinatawag na looting, break down sapagkat lubos namang masunurin ang mga Pilipino. So ‘yun lang naman ang ating sinasabi,” Año said.

“We’re really doing good in terms of peace and order. Kaya nga ang sinasabi ko, 59 percent drop tayo sa crime. sa tingin ko ‘yun lang ang isang magandang…one of the many positives that we have achieved during this crisis.”

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