Interview with Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella
CNN Philippines / Newsroom by Amelyn Veloso
13 October 2016
AMELYN: Good morning Secretary Abella. Thanks for taking our call.

SEC. ABELLA: Good morning, Amelyn.

AMELYN: Sir, UN Special Rapporteur Agnes Callamard says that she has not received the letter yet, she is awaiting confirmation from official channels. How has the United Nations responded or replied to the invitation?

SEC. ABELLA: I assume that Agnes Callamard’s statement is in a—is the UN response. If there has been any delay, apparently it was due to some technicality, but definitely the letter has been signed and sent.

AMELYN: Now, she also hopes so that she will have freedom of inquiry and …she will have freedom inquiry and movement. How will this investigation be carried out? What will be the government’s participation in this?

SEC. ABELLA: We do not know the exact procedure; it wasn’t stated in the letter. But definitely they will follow their own protocols. But as the President said, you can ask anything. That assumes that the Rapporteur will have freedom of movement and inquiry.

AMELYN: Now, President Duterte had said that he wants to be heard. With this, does it mean that they will have a meeting or there… you would be arranging a meeting with the UN Rapporteur with President Duterte?

SEC. ABELLA: Well, that assumes a face to face dialogue. Like I said, we don’t know the actual procedure or the protocol if there is supposed to be any face to face. But the President wants equal time and equal opportunity to be heard and to inquire. So I am not yet that… if that assumes some form of a dialogue whether virtual or actual.

AMELYN: Now, how else is government getting their message across to those who have negatively viewed the country’s war on drugs. We understand… are there movements now to invite the European Union and the United States as well to investigate?

SEC. ABELLA: Well, the President has made such comments. Although no official let—as far as I know, I have not seen any official letters, except to the UN Rapporteur.

AMELYN: Yes, Secretary Abella, you’re going to add something?

SEC. ABELLA: No, that’s about it.

AMELYN: Okay, thank you so much for taking our call.

SOURCE:  NIB (News and Information Bureau)