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ORGANIZER SAYS

UN forum with Leni video scheduled months before impeach rap vs. Duterte


The organizer of the United Nations (UN) forum where a video of Vice President Leni Robredo revealing alleged police abuses was shown said the event was scheduled well before the impeachment complaint against President Rodrigo Duterte was filed.

Borden issued the clarification amid accusations that Robredo timed the release of her recorded speech to coincide with Magdalo party-list Rep. Gary Alejano's impeachment complaint, as part of what the Malacañang claimed was a "coordinated" destabilization plot against the Duterte administration.

David Borden, executive director of anti-drug network Drug Reform Coordination Network (DRCNet) Foundation, said the forum was scheduled "months ago by UN staff" and they received scheduling documents around January.

Borden added that the vice president's office "did not make any requests of us as to timing or any other matters" regarding the video they posted on Youtube on March 13.

"As the organizer of the event at the UN, I can attest that the date of our forum was scheduled months ago by UN staff, and the vice president's office did not make any requests of us as to timing or any other matters," Borden said.

"We released it a few days before the session as a media strategy to draw attention to Pres. Duterte's atrocities," he added. Borden e-mailed his statement to Sen. Francis Pangilinan, president of the Liberal Party, of which Robredo is the chairperson. Pangilinan, in turn, forwarded the statement to the media.

 

 

In the controversial video, which was first posted on YouTube by DRCNet on March 13, Robredo claimed that indigents rounded up in anti-drug operations were "beaten and physically abused" for asking for a search warrant, a right that authorities said they did not have for being transient residents.

She also spoke of a "palit-ulo" scheme wherein the wife, husband, or relative of a person on a drug list "will be taken if the person himself could not be found."

Three days later, on March 16, the video was played at the "Human Rights Challenge: Responding to Extrajudicial Killings in the Drug War," a side session organized for the 60th United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs.

US Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Oregon) gave a statement days after the video was released calling for a "a just and compassionate approach" to the Philippines' drug problem instead of escalating violence.

"The international community must prioritize these changes. Our goal should be to put an end to mindless military action and hard-edged policies that have proven to fail, and replace them with more effective regulation and treatment," Blumenauer said.

House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez on Friday insisted that Robredo was involved in the filing of the impeachment complaint by Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano against Duterte several days after her video was released.

Alvarez claimed that Alejano's complaint was made to speed up the process of installing Robredo, whose vice presidency is currently being contested before the Supreme Court, to Duterte's position.

Robredo's spokesperson Georgina Hernandez denied allegations that the vice president is linked to Alejano's impeachment complaint, a claim which Alejano himself supported. — MDM, GMA News

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