Using ‘human rights’ for geopolitics
On other provisions the lack of an enabling law works against the people’s interest in the hurriedly made 1987 Constitution. Provisions which require an enabling law mangled the sovereignty of the people by making it subject to an enabling act by Congress. So in one sense the argument against the Commission on Human Rights for a lack of an enabling law justifies the P1K budget.
But did you know that the same thing happened to the People’s Initiative to amend or revise the 1987 Constitution which the Supreme Court said had no enabling law. I had to dig up records in Congress to find that there was an enabling law. It was filed by then Congressman Raul Roco and approved when Cory’s term was about to end. It was marked urgent to be ready for a people’s initiative to allow Cory to run again.
So the need for an enabling law was used for provisions that the constitutional commission then had either no time to debate or did not want debated. It is said that President Cory was afraid it would bring up the issue of Hacienda Luisita.
On the CHR controversy I am more concerned on how this commission is being used as a geopolitical tool against President Duterte’s war on drugs by his political enemies. In his book “Human rights as Politics and Idolatry,” Michael Ignatieff writes on how human rights can also be used by stronger Western countries to intervene in the governance of weaker countries.
“Ignatieff also makes a good argument for establishing limits on the scope of internationally protected human rights, contending that overzealous interventionism can erode the legitimacy of international norms. His learned, nimble analysis traces the fine line between the rights of states and those of citizens, and how the human rights movement should best walk that line,” writes Gara Lamarche in his review of the book.
The Commission on Human Rights is a presidential committee. Only Congress can change it to be a legal entity.
Human rights violations have been used to overthrow leaders of countries in Asia and the Middle East. I think that CHR’s campaign against “teens being killed” in President Duterte’s war against drugs is suspected to be such a plot. Duterte’s radical foreign policy to be independent did not please the United States. There is a connection between alleged human rights violations and his government’s foreign policy. This can be gleaned from the pattern of events since Duterte became President.
Seen from this light, Congress is right in sending a message to those who man the CHR. It must not be used against our government in its pursuit of the well-being of the Filipino nation. Most of the comments from outsiders are not even aware of the facts of cases but just parrot what they read in some mainstream media. Each case must be taken up individually and not grouped as an attack on Duterte’s governance in behalf of a foreign government in partnership with the Liberal Party’s objective to topple the Duterte government.
Worse if it is true that it was the CHR which brought in UN Special Rapporteur Callamard to speak against Duterte’s war on drugs.
According to Bobbi Tiglao, Callamard lied when she said that “In April 2016, the general assembly of the world’s government recognized explicitly that the war on drugs does not work. The United Nations General Assembly never made such a declaration explicitly or implicitly.
The UN General Assembly’s lengthy 11,000-word resolution (UN Document A/RES/S-30/1) issued April 19 entitled “Our joint commitment to effectively addressing and countering the world drug problem” did not even use the term “war on drugs”, much less did it say it doesn’t work.
The resolution in fact even recognized that ”tangible progress has been achieved” as a result of efforts of nations to combat the global drug problem. What the resolution highlighted in its first paragraphs was its concern that “the availability of internationally controlled drugs for medical and scientific purposes, including for the relief of pain and suffering, remains low to non-existent in many countries of the world” – a veiled reference to the growing lobby to legalize marijuana.
Does this lady from New York think that Filipinos are so backward that they’ll be unable to access a UN document to fact-check her claim?” writes columnist Tiglao.
Despite her claims to be an important UN official, Callamard is only one of 56 researchers for the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. But she was reportedly given a first class ticket and billeted in a five star luxury hotel courtesy of CHR.
MISCELLANY: This is good news for coconut farmers who have been denied what is rightfully theirs for the development of the industry. The SC declared there is no question that the coconut levy assets are public funds.
This means the government may take the necessary steps to preserve them and utilize them for the development of the coconut industry. In a column last Sunday, Veronica Pedrosa of Al-Jazeera wrote on the farmers’ initiative to develop more products from the highly versatile coconut.
“The most compelling reasons to treat coconut levy funds as public funds are the fact that it was raised through the State’s taxing power for the development of the coconut industry as a whole and not merely to benefit individual farmers,” the Supreme Court said.
The Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) is hopeful that with SC decision, Congress will enact one unified law to be signed by President Duterte before the year ends. Let us watch developments on the fund that was used scandalously to enrich oligarchs at the expense of poor farmers.
The coco levy fund amounting to P75 billion came from taxes imposed on coconut farmers mandated by Presidential Decree 755 in 1975.
In 2015, the SC stopped the implementation of Executive Orders 179 and 180 giving former president Benigno Aquino III to manage the coco levy fund.
* * * For classical music lovers, my friend, Belle Cunanan sent this item. “Young Europe-trained Filipino classical violinist Joaquin Maria “Chino” Gutierrez will stage a special anniversary concert, titled “Poème: A Musical Journey,” at the Francisco Santiago Concert Hall, BDO Tower, HV de la Costa St. cor. Makati Ave. on Sept. 23 at 7:30 pm. This is in celebration of his 20 years as a violinist.
He has been hailed as a young virtuoso at 15, and described by the Philippine STAR as “a phenomenal violinist” and by Malaya News as “mesmerizing.”