Human rights, armed conflict and climate emergency in the philippines

This first report is part of a series of four four-monthly publications that analyze the situation in the Philippines from the perspective of human rights and the 2030 Agenda, armed conflict and peace negotiations, and the climate emergency. It also relates it to issues linked to the political situation and international current affairs.

Produced by Escola de Cultura de Pau, in collaboration with Associació Catalana per la Pau and International Action for Peace and the support of Agència Catalana de Cooperació al Desenvolupament.

Index

I Elections

  • On 9 May 2022, the general elections were held in the Philippines for the election of the executive and legislative branches at the national, provincial and local levels.
    According to official data, Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, a former senator, candidate of the Federal Party of the Philippines and son of former dictator Ferdinand Marcos (1965-1986), won 58.8% of the vote (over 31 million), ahead of former Vice President Leni Robredo, who ran as an independent and won 27.9% of the vote (over 15 million). For the vice presidency, Sara Duterte, mayor of Davao (one of the country’s most populous cities), candidate of the Lakas-CMD party and daughter of outgoing President Rodrigo Duterte, won 61.5% of the vote (more than 32 million votes).
  • Several domestic and international election observation missions maintained that the election results generally reflected the will of the Filipino people, but at the same time documented numerous acts of violence related to the election process. The observation mission of the International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines (ICHRP) noted that the election process did not meet international standards for fair and free elections.

II Human rights

  • A few days before the end of President Rodrigo Duterte’s term in office, the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Karim Khan, declared his intention to resume the ICC’s investigation into the so-called “war on drugs” launched by Rodrigo Duterte’s government when he came to power in mid-2016. According to official figures, some 6,250 people had been killed during counter-narcotics operations by state security forces since Duterte took office until May 2022, but some sources put the figure significantly higher at between 12,000 and 30,000 people.
  • The ICC prosecutor’s decision came after the investigations and measures taken by the Philippine state to resolve the issue were deemed insufficient. In September 2021, the ICC opened an investigation on alleged crimes against humanity in the context of the war on drugs, but suspended it two months later after the Philippine government asked the ICC to transfer the investigation to the domestic system. Under the Rome Statute’s principle of complementarity, the ICC can investigate alleged crimes in a given country only if that country’s authorities fail to do so. As of mid-July 2022, the ICC had not yet taken a decision on this issue.

I Elections

On 9 May 2022, the Philippine general elections were held for the election of the executive and legislative branches at the national, provincial and local levels. Although the most politically and media relevant elections were for the presidency and vice-presidency of the country (two separate processes), the 2022 elections also included the election of the Senate (partial, 12 members), the House of Representatives, governors, deputy governors and provincial boards of the 81 provinces, and mayors, vice-mayors and municipal councils nationwide, so that more than 47,800 people were candidates in the elections. The elections were organised by the Commission on Elections of the Republic of the Philippines (COMELEC), but were observed by a number of national and international organisations, including the International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines, the Asian Network for Free Elections (ANFREL), the Carter Centre, the National Citizens’ Movement for Free Elections (NAMFREL), Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV), the Legal Network for Truthful Elections (LENTE).

According to official figures, Ferdinand Marcos, popularly known as “Bongbong” Marcos — former senator, candidate of the Federal Party of the Philippines and son of former dictator Ferdinand Marcos (1965-1986) — won 58.8% of the vote (more than 31 million), ahead of former Vice President Leni Robredo, who ran as an independent and won 27.9% of the vote (more than 15 million). In the vice-presidential election, Sara Duterte, mayor of Davao (one of the country’s most populous cities), candidate of the Lakas-CMD party and daughter of outgoing President Rodrigo Duterte, won 61.5% of the vote (more than 32 million votes), almost four times more than the second-place candidate, Francis Pangilinan, who won 17.8% of the vote.

On 30 June, Ferdinand Marcos was sworn in as the new president, claiming to have received the most significant electoral mandate in the country’s democratic history. Only two days earlier, the Supreme Court voted unanimously to dismiss petitions for his disqualification and the cancellation of his candidacy. Both lawsuits stemmed mainly from Marcos’ 1997 conviction for failing to file his income tax returns between 1982 and 1985 while he was vice governor and governor of Ilocos Norte, in the north of the country. The petitioners claimed that the said criminal conviction disqualified Marcos from holding any public office. Previously, the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) had also dismissed four appeals to the same effect, but this decision was criticised by some sectors because it was made public on 10 May, the day after the elections were held. Following COMELEC’s ruling, a group of people led by a former Supreme Court spokesman filed a petition with COMELEC on 16 May, which was eventually dismissed shortly before the presidential handover at the end of June.

In terms of the conduct of the election as a whole – election campaigning, polling day and the process of vote counting and certification of results – there were several of the entities that deployed election observation missions that expressed concern and alarm over certain issues that occurred during the election process. Even the Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines (CHR), a constitutionally recognised official body of the republic, issued a statement acknowledging that it had observed numerous cases of election-related violence resulting in injuries and deaths, as well as vote buying, and malfunctioning of vote counting machines (VCMs), which resulted in many people being unable to cast their ballots. The CHR also condemned 16 separate incidents – including shootings, strafings and use of explosive devices – on election day in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. The CHR urged the government to do everything in its power to hold the perpetrators accountable for their crimes, and also called for the shielding of the vote counting process to ensure that there would be no acts of intimidation against the persons and entities responsible for the parallel counting of votes.

For its part, the ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights, an umbrella organisation of parliamentary representatives from several Southeast Asian countries, issued a statement the day after the elections in which it pointed out that, although the electoral process was carried out in a formally correct manner, massive disinformation campaigns had been identified that had greatly influenced the election results. According to the international organisation, the widespread dissemination of disinformation made it difficult to make informed electoral decisions and could have seriously undermined the integrity of the elections and the quality of democracy in the Philippines.

Another regional organisation that expressed concern about the conduct of the elections was the Asian Network for Free Elections (ANFREL), considered the most experienced election observation organisation in Southeast Asia, which deployed its observers to 14 regions and 197 constituencies in the country to observe the opening, voting and counting processes, and which also monitored voting in countries such as Malaysia, Thailand and Taiwan. In an interim report (the final report is pending publication), ANFREL found the election results to be representative of the will of the Filipino people and the overall process to be transparent, but at the same time urged the government to address as a matter of urgency some issues that had cast doubt on the integrity of the process. ANFREL, for example, expressed concern about technical glitches in at least 1,867 vote-counting machines, a far higher number than in the 2016 or 2019 elections and which led to long queues for casting ballots in several polling centres. In this regard, ANFREL noted that COMELEC’s contingency measures were not adequate to the circumstances. ANFREL stressed that the automation of some phases of the electoral process should increase the transparency of the process as a whole, and that technical failures in this area can affect the public’s perception of the reliability of the process and even encourage social protests. On the other hand, ANFREL regretted that more than half of the polling stations visited by its observers’ reported problems related to the secrecy of the vote, noting that the Philippines lags far behind other countries in the region in this regard and urging the electoral authorities to improve both the design of polling stations and voting booths and the training of polling day staff.

ANFREL also noted the 15 suspected incidents of electoral violence reported by the Philippine National Police (PNP) on Election Day – some of which resulted in the deaths of six people – adding to the 16 that had already been recorded since the start of the election period on 9 January 2022. ANFREL considered that such violence created an atmosphere of intimidation and fear that could undermine democracy, and urged the state to fully investigate and prosecute the perpetrators of the violence. ANFREL also identified other problems, such as vote buying – several people interviewed did not report this practice for fear of reprisals and the difficulty of obtaining sufficient evidence; the use of resources, premises and public officials by certain candidates for electoral benefit; the lack of implementation of campaign finance laws; or the impact on the outcome of the elections of disinformation and attacks against certain candidates during the election campaign. On the latter issue, ANFREL urged social media companies to reduce the levels of disinformation in the country. Furthermore, ANFREL denounced that the election campaign took place in the context of severely restricted press freedom and widespread red-tagging (a term that refers to the public targeting and even legal and media harassment of persons critical of the state or government policies who are accused of belonging to or collaborating with the communist movement in the Philippines, or even of being part of clandestine and declared organisations). Finally, the regional organisation also regretted COMELEC’s delay in dealing with the disqualification appeals against Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos. In this regard, ANFREL called on the electoral authority in the country to be more transparent about the criteria for the acceptance or rejection of candidacies.

For its part, the National Citizens’ Movement for Free Elections (NAMFREL), an entity accredited by COMELEC as its citizens’ “arm” since 1983 and associated with AMFREL, noted in its interim report that the elections were conducted with a high turnout and in a generally peaceful and calm atmosphere, but highlighted the malfunctioning of many vote-counting machines, criticised the failure to observe or properly apply anti-Covid protocols (physical distancing, face masks, temperature control, etc.) and expressed concern over the prohibition of many people from observing the closing of the polls in the polling stations themselves and from taking photographs of the published election results, as well as the refusal to hand over copies of the polling stations’ minutes and the refusal to hand over copies of the polling stations’ minutes) and expressed concern about the prohibition for many people to observe the closing of the polls at the polling stations themselves and to take photographs of the published election results, as well as the refusal to hand over a copy of the polling station minutes to accredited NAMFREL staff.

In the same way as NAMFREL, the Legal Network for Truthful Elections (LENT) declared that the elections were generally credible, but at the same time expressed serious reservations about the conduct of the elections and denounced various irregularities and even electoral crimes, such as the malfunctioning of numerous ballots counting machines, theft of ballot papers, vote buying and requests to citizens to leave their ballot papers at the polling station. In this regard, LENT urged citizens to use the civil code to focus on the accountability of public officials who directly or indirectly obstruct, violate or undermine the civil rights of any person, including the right to vote. It is particularly noteworthy that LENT, together with the Right to Know Right Now Coalition, conducted an analysis of the use of public resources for electoral gain during the campaign and up to mid-June and noted that more than 100 community leaders interviewed had observed the use of public resources by certain candidates.

The Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV), a church-based organisation with extensive experience in observing elections in the Philippines that relied on the participation of around half a million volunteers and the support of specialised academic centres for the tabulation of results and the parallel scrutiny of results, noted that the elections were generally fair, peaceful, transparent and credible, but also warned about the malfunctioning of some vote-counting machines on election day and identified signs of vote buying and disinformation campaigns. The Carter Center welcomed the high voter turnout, but at the time of publication of this report had not yet released its report on the conduct of the election process.

Of all the election observation missions deployed in the Philippines, the one that was undoubtedly the most critical of the electoral process and the public authorities that organised it was the one deployed by the International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines (ICHRP) between the beginning of February and the end of June 2022. The mission visited the regions of Central Luzon, Southern Tagalog, Bicol, National Capital Region (NCR), Central Visayas, Eastern Visayas, Western Visayas and Mindanao. Such a Mission was established upon the recommendation of the Commissioners of INVESTIGATE PH in their Report of the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Human Rights Violations in the Philippines, which was in turn established in response to the decision of the United Nations Human Rights Council during its 45th Session in October 2020.

According to this international observation mission, the general elections, especially the presidential, Senate and House of Representatives elections, did not meet international standards for free and fair elections, in accordance with the criteria established in 1994 by the Inter-Parliamentary Union. Some of the factors pointed out in the final report to justify such an assessment of the electoral process were the failures in the electronic voting system, which were higher than in previous elections, the also high levels of vote buying, the widespread practice of red-tagging -in many cases by government institutions-, the disinformation campaigns; and harassment of certain journalists by the candidacy of Ferdinand Bongbong Marcos, or the numerous episodes of violence related to the elections. The mission also deplored the difficulties in casting the vote for overseas workers (only 480,000 of the more than 1.7 million people who were registered to vote voted) and denounced that the vote count was neither transparent nor reliable due to such technical failures of the vote counting machines. As for election-related violence, the mission’s final report details cases of extrajudicial executions, shootings, kidnappings, death threats, arrests, detentions, harassment and surveillance of certain candidates and collectives. The latest findings of the International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines are fully in line with Kontra Daya, an ICHRP partner organisation that compiled more than 4,000 reports of election-related fraud and violence – almost half of which were related to malfunctioning vote-counting machines – and which also found the elections to be unreliable.

In conclusion, therefore, according to the ICHRP, the electoral process did not meet international standards due to the fact that the circumstances described above deprived citizens of access to reliable information, access to polling stations without intimidation, and a credible vote counting system. In this regard, the electoral mission made a number of recommendations to the electoral authorities and the international community, some of which are summarised below.

  1. COMELEC’s membership should be appointed by an independent process, as in the case of the Supreme Court or other state institutions, to ensure that it is an independent, non-partisan institution. In addition, there should be an efficient mechanism for handling complaints and disputes. Independent observers from other countries should be accredited by COMELEC to provide independent monitoring.
  2. The Armed Forces and the National Police should not be directly involved in the management of polling stations and vote counting. Any official or military officer making public statements for or against any candidate or party should be sanctioned by COMELEC.
  3. It is not possible to audit and verify the vote independently under the current electronic voting system because the vote counting machines are not reliable. Therefore, a manual vote counting system should be established in which results are posted at polling stations before being sent to provincial and national vote counting centres, with a vote counting algorithm to be independently verified before the election.
  4. Social media platforms should be legally required to ensure that user pages and accounts sharing election-related content provide author profiles and verifiable information or opinions. In addition, social media platforms should be legally required to remove confirmed fake news, according to independent fact-checking sources.
  5. Given the large-scale violation of human rights before, during and after the elections by the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) and the Anti-Terrorism Council, the NTF-ELCAC should be abolished, the Anti-Terrorism Act should be repealed and so-called red-tagging should be sanctioned. Similarly, efforts should be stepped up to eliminate the widespread practice of vote-buying and the intimidation and judicial harassment of certain media and journalists.

II Human rights

On 25 June, ICC prosecutor Karim Khan declared his intention to resume the investigation into the so-called ‘war on drugs’ launched by Rodrigo Duterte’s government when he came to power in mid-2016. According to official figures, some 6,250 people had been killed during counter-narcotics operations by state security forces between Duterte’s inauguration and May 2022, but some sources put the figure significantly higher. According to the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, some 8,600 people are estimated to have died in the war on drugs by March 2020. The ICC itself estimates that between 12,000 and 30,000 people could have died between Duterte’s inauguration on 1 July 2016 and March 2019. The media source ABS-CBN claimed to have identified 7,009 drug-related deaths from media reports and official press releases alone since 10 May 2016, the date Duterte won the presidency.

In September 2021, the ICC authorised the opening of an investigation into possible crimes against humanity in the context of the drug war between November 2011 and March 2019. Duterte became president of the country in July 2016, but at the time the ICC asked to include part of Duterte’s term as mayor of Davao City (in southern Mindanao) on the grounds that there were similar patterns and overlapping actors between 2011-2016 and 2016-2019. The reason why the ICC does not have jurisdiction to prosecute alleged crimes committed under the umbrella of the war on drugs until the end of Duterte’s term on 30 June 2022 is that in March 2019 the Philippines ceased to be a state party to the Rome Statute and therefore the ICC would only have jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute crimes committed until that date.

However, in November 2021, shortly after the ICC formally opened an investigation, the investigation was suspended due to the Philippine government’s request for its transfer to national authorities. This is because, under the principle of complementarity provided for in the Rome Statute, the ICC only has jurisdiction to investigate alleged crimes in a given country if the authorities of that country fail to do so.

Despite this, Manila initiated the investigation of only 52 cases in which people had been killed during anti-drug operations, and which only involved 154 police officers. In response, numerous national and international human rights organisations called on the ICC to resume its investigation, considering that the Philippine government’s request was merely a delaying tactic to buy time, and to whitewash senior government officials, including Duterte himself. Moreover, they considered the scope of the investigation to be wholly insufficient and argued that the DOJ investigation was based on the findings of the Police Internal Affairs Department.

In the face of such domestic and international pressure, in March 2022, during the 49th session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, the government pledged to investigate a further 250 cases of possible extrajudicial killings between July 2016 and June 2020. In addition, the government said it had invited two UN representatives to the country to discuss human rights and accountability issues. Despite these measures, at the end of June 2022, just days before the end of Duterte’s term, the ICC prosecutor declared that the Philippine government’s investigations and actions (by the end of June, only three police officers had been convicted of involvement in extrajudicial killings) were not sufficient, so he requested authorisation from the ICC to resume the investigation that had been opened in September 2021 (and transferred to Manila in November 2021). As of mid-July, the ICC had not yet taken a decision on the matter. The government said it was exasperated by Karim Khan’s statements, remarked that the government’s counter-narcotics policy had led to a drastic reduction in drug-related crimes, noted that all cases of possible crimes in the framework of counter-narcotics operations were being thoroughly investigated, and therefore asked the ICC Pre-Trial Chamber to be able to continue with such efforts. For his part, President Rodrigo Duterte has on numerous occasions disdained the role of the ICC and shown his willingness to continue and even encourage counter-narcotics operations without any consideration for possible human rights violations that might be committed in such operations. In early 2022, for example, he declared that he would never apologise for having pushed for the “war on drugs”.

Several civil society organisations welcomed the ICC prosecutor’s recent decision, while lamenting the lack of determination on the matter by the UN Human Rights Council. The 47-state body issued a resolution in October 2020 providing technical assistance to the Philippine state but did not establish any specific investigation mechanism despite a report by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), published in June 2020, a few months before the issuance of the HRC resolution. The OHCHR report, in turn, was produced to comply with a Resolution adopted by the UN Human Rights Council in July 2019. The report led by Michelle Bachelet was highly critical of the Philippine state, highlighting how the government encouraged extrajudicial killings and how national justice mechanisms, including those promoted by the government and the Office of the Ombudsman, were neither sufficient nor progressing. Indeed, the report notes that, given the widespread and systematic nature of the alleged killings and the failure of national mechanisms to ensure accountability, the High Commissioner emphasised the need for independent, impartial and effective investigations into the killings and expressed her willingness to assist in national and international accountability measures.

This report was relevant because, among other issues, it allowed the ICC to open a formal investigation, arguing that the Philippine government is unwilling or unable to investigate the killings on its own (Article 17(1)(a) of the Rome Statute). However, as discussed above, according to several human rights organisations, the resolution issued by the Human Rights Council in October 2020 failed to address the issue decisively, sent a dangerous message to the Philippine government and caused despair among the families of victims of extrajudicial killings and other abuses committed by state security forces.

In this regard, in early July 2022, some human rights organisations pointed out that both the investigations already initiated by the ICC in 2021 and the OHCHR report submitted in 2020 should be sufficient for the UN Human Rights Council to conduct an investigation of its own or to take steps beyond offering technical assistance to the Philippine state. For example, according to the Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates, although the UN HRC and the ICC are different entities, their investigations and findings complement each other and could trigger further justice mechanisms not only to prosecute those responsible for the crimes that may have been committed, but also to ensure that such crimes do not happen again.

These findings were reinforced by the publication of several reports on the issue in the second quarter of 2022, including by the Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines, the US State Department, the International Narcotics Control Board, ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights and the ICHRP.

The report of the Commission on Human Rights, entitled Report on Killings Investigated in Relation to the Illegal Anti-Drug Campaign published in April 2022, is particularly relevant as it is a public body enshrined and regulated in the Philippine Constitution. The Commission notes that during the Duterte administration, drug-related killings are widespread and widespread, occurring in all regions of the country and the victims – with real or perceived links to illegal drugs – were killed with disproportionate and/or excessive or brutal use of force, either during alleged operations by state security forces or during attacks by unidentified individuals or persons. The Commission also states that, contrary to the claims of self-defence used by most police officers, the available information suggested both the intent to kill by police officers and the disproportionate force used to repel alleged assaults, repeatedly failing to comply with the law and established police protocols.

Moreover, the CHR report warned that killings outside the context of police operations indicated a possible consistency with the objectives advocated in the government’s campaign against illegal drugs and that most of the victims were included in government lists. Finally, the Commission warned about the climate of impunity in which the issues described above occur, as the alleged persons responsible for such crimes are neither investigated nor prosecuted, one explanation being that families and witnesses refuse to participate in any investigation for fear of their own safety. The PNP’s repeated refusal to allow the Commission access to police records is indicative of the lack of transparency and impartiality in its internal processes. The Commission reiterates its conclusion that the investigation and prosecution of alleged drug-related killings does not meet the international standards set out in the Minnesota Protocol on the Investigation of Potentially Unlawful Deaths and notes that the government has not only failed in its obligation to respect and protect human rights, but has also fostered a culture of impunity that protects the perpetrators of crimes committed in the “war on drugs”. Following the publication of the report, the spokesperson of the Human Rights Commission, Jacqueline de Guia, issued a statement welcoming the presidential spokesperson’s invitation to coordinate with government agencies on counter-narcotics policy to ensure that it is developed in accordance with respect for human rights, and also calling on the government to account for extrajudicial executions committed in the framework of the anti-drug policy.

Another of the most relevant reports in recent months was published at the end of March 2022 by the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), an independent, quasi-judicial monitoring body for the implementation of the UN international drug control conventions, established in 1968 under the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. In its 2021 annual report, the INCB regretted that police operations against suspected drug users and traffickers authorised by Manila are resulting in the deaths of many people, criticised that senior government officials publicly discourage cooperation with human rights groups, recalled that extrajudicial responses to drug-related crimes are a clear violation of the international drug control treaties, and urged the government to immediately stop and prevent any extrajudicial killings and also to speed up ongoing investigations. Furthermore, the INCB expressed its opposition to the government’s plan to reinstate the death penalty for drug-related crimes and called on the Philippines to commute death sentences already handed down.

Following the publication of the report, the government, through the main public body responsible for the issue – the Dangerous Drugs Board – declared that it was in permanent contact and dialogue with the INCB and expressed its willingness to receive a visit from experts from that body to learn first-hand about the government’s anti-narcotics policy, but Manila also urged the INCB to be impartial in its analysis, not to use unverified sources and criticised it for meddling in the country’s internal affairs.

In addition, the government highlighted the progress made since Duterte took office. According to official data, the number of people using narcotics had fallen by 58 per cent between 2016 and 2019. In a report released in March, the administration’s anti-drug agency noted that since Duterte took office on 1 July 2016, more than 331,000 people had been arrested in nearly 230,000 police operations. The government noted that so far more than half of the country’s municipalities (24,379 out of a total of 42,045) had been deemed free of illegal drugs. However, after this data was made public, the president himself warned that both drug trafficking and drug consumption in the country could increase after the end of his term in mid-2022.

In mid-April, the US State Department released its annual human rights report, in which it warned that it had received credible reports of numerous human rights violations committed by and on behalf of the government, including killings, arbitrary and extrajudicial executions; enforced disappearances; torture; life-threatening prison conditions; and arbitrary detention. The report also noted that public perception of corruption within the police remained very high and also expressed concern about the government’s difficulties in purging the police. Moreover, the State Department report also drew attention to other issues, such as the lack of independence of the judiciary; severe restrictions on freedom of expression and the media, including violence, threats of violence and unjustified arrests or prosecutions of journalists, censorship and the use of criminal defamation laws to punish journalists; widespread and high-level government corruption; or serious government restrictions or harassment of national human rights organisations. In response to the US government’s report, the Philippine Police issued a statement expressing its opposition to the report and noting that from July 2016 to 30 March 2022, some 6,000 personnel had been dismissed and nearly 10,500 others suspended as part of an internal vetting programme within the institution.

The ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights, in a post-election statement, also expressed its concern about the overall human rights situation in the country beyond specific questions about the electoral process. It criticised the systematic whitewashing of the atrocities and massive human rights violations and illicit enrichment committed during the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos by his son, the new president. The association urged the new administration to prioritise the human rights agenda during its term, to provide reparations to the victims of the Ferdinand Marcos dictatorship as prescribed by the Human Rights Victims Recognition and Reparations Act of 2013, to cooperate closely with the ICC in the investigation of extrajudicial killings committed in the context of the Duterte-sponsored war on drugs, to end the war on drugs, and also to end red-tagging and harassment of individuals or organisations critical of the government.

In the same vein as the ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights, the report of the ICHRP election observation mission also pointed out some human rights violations beyond the irregularities identified throughout the electoral process, also issuing some recommendations to the international community. Firstly, it urges certain bodies of the international community – such as the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the UN Human Rights Council or the European Union – to intensify their monitoring of the human rights situation in the Philippines. ICHRP specifically calls on the ICC to accelerate the investigation of crimes committed by the administration since 2011; while the European Commission and its External Action Service are called upon to use all available instruments – such as the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement or the Generalised System of Preferences Plus (GSP+) – to put an end to extrajudicial killings related to the anti-drug campaign and the killing of civilian political opponents. ICHRP also urges the US Congress to pass a Philippine human rights bill to halt military assistance to the Philippine government until it can guarantee the human rights of its citizenry. Finally, ICHRP calls on the UN Human Rights Council and the ICC to redouble their efforts to stop the so-called red-tagging and the intimidation and harassment of government critics, and on the international community to demand the repeal of the anti-terrorism law and the abolition of the Anti-Terrorism Council and the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).