Initial Report of the Independent International Commission of Investigation
Into Human Rights Violations in the Philippines
INVESTIGATE PH First Report – Frequently Asked Questions
What is the first report about?
This report is the first in a series of three by INVESTIGATE PH, to be followed by a second report in July
and final report in September 2021. The report is based on a preliminary survey and examination of 49
illustrative cases of human rights violations that occurred in the Philippines during 2020 and 2021. This
report provides an update on the human rights situation in the Philippines since the June 4, 2020 report (A/
HRC/44/22) of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), also known as the
Bachelet Report.
What is the method of investigation?
Interviews were conducted with victims and witnesses through phone and video calls, allowing
INVESTIGATE PH’s team to amass and validate a repository of currently available evidence. The legal
team also reviewed court records and other relevant documents. Two sessions of plenary hearings with
Commission members, where victims and witnesses presented clarifying testimony on representative
cases, were held.
What are the findings of the report?
The dire state of human rights situation shown in the 2020 Bachelet Report has worsened as state
forces have intensified attacks in anti-drug operations and counterinsurgency. The findings showed
ongoing abuses in anti-drug operations; extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearance of human rights
defenders; torture, unjust detention and arrests on trumped-up charges; political repression through threats
and red-tagging; forced evacuation; violations of freedom of press and assembly; additional violations
of international humanitarian law; and abuses in COVID-19 pandemic response. There is a continued
lack of domestic remedies and mechanisms to address human rights violations as the police and military
perpetrate HRVs with impunity and obstruct investigations. Laws such as Executive Order 70 which
created the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) and the 2020
Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) facilitate HRVs, and even target lawyers who provide services to victims. Efforts to
seek remedy and challenge unjust laws through legal channels are repressed.
What are the recommendations of the report?
The report urges States, United Nations agencies, and other stakeholders to make use of international
mechanisms, including the establishment of UNHRC commissions of inquiry, fact-finding missions, or
investigations, to help improve the human rights situation in the Philippines, exert accountability, and
deliver justice to victims; and to monitor the compliance of the Philippine government with international
human rights treaties and obligations such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
(ICCPR) and other International Human Rights Covenants to which the Philippines is a signatory, and
to mobilize diplomatic tools to ensure that these obligations are observed and realized. It calls on the
International Criminal Court and the International Labor Organization to expedite their investigations of the
Philippine rights situation. It urges international civil society to promote the report, and to support calls for
accountability and justice for the victims, along with calls to end military assistance to the Philippines.