Philip Alston Interim Report

I visited the Philippines at the invitation of the Government from 12
to 21 February 2007. I met with key government officials, including the
President, the Executive Secretary, the National Security Adviser, the Secretaries for Defense and Justice, members of Congress, the Chief
Justice, the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines
(AFP), the Chair of the Human Rights Commission, and the Ombudsman. Approximately half of my mission was devoted to meetings with
representatives of civil society, in Manila, Baguio and Davao. Pending
the submission of my final report to the Human Rights Council, this
interim report provides a brief overview of my activities and
identifies some of the issues which are of the most concern to me.

Interim Recommendations

  1. The Government should immediately direct all military officers to
    cease making public statements linking political or other civil society
    groups to those engaged in armed insurgencies. If such
    characterizations are ever to be made it must be by civilian
    authorities, on the basis of transparent criteria, and in conformity
    with the human rights provisions of the Constitution and relevant
    treaties;
  2. The Government should commit to restoring the effectiveness of
    constitutionally mandated accountability arrangements, especially in
    relation to the role of Congressional oversight;
  3. In conjunction with the executive branch of Government, the Supreme
    Court should use its constitutional powers over the practice of law to
    impress upon prosecutors that they have a duty to the public to uphold
    and protect human rights by acting to ensure the effective
    investigation of cases and protection of witnesses;
  4. The Ombudsman’s office should begin to take seriously its independent
    constitutional role in responding to extrajudicial killings plausibly
    attributed to public officials;
  5. The Government should provide the Special Rapporteur with a copy of an
    “order of battle” relating to one of the zones in the country in which
    significant conflict is currently occurring.

Download interim report at pcij.org.