Duterte on threat to leave UN: Just joking

The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines – It was a joke, but nobody laughed.

President Duterte claimed yesterday he was just joking when he threatened to pull out the Philippines from the United Nations (UN), even as he maintained the world body should not meddle with his war on illegal drugs.

“Di ka marunong mag-biro pa (Don’t you know how to joke)? Where will we join? The association of the sunken?” Duterte told reporters yesterday when asked if he was serious about his threat to pull the Philippines out of the UN.

But he insisted the UN should not intervene in the affairs of the Philippines.

“They should behave the way they should behave,” he added, referring to the UN.

He also lashed out at UN Special Rapporteur on summary executions Agnes Callamard, who called on the administration to protect the people from extrajudicial executions.

“Do not do that because you are addressing me as president and you’re pointing to the police structure. This is a government,” the tough-talking President said.

Duterte said Callamard should have asked guidance from her superiors.

“There has to be a superior who will write a letter. Or there should be respect before saying anything about genocide,” he said, adding that UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon should have written the letter.

On Sunday, Duterte said the Philippines should just bolt the UN after the international agency criticized the spate of killings attributed to the administration’s anti-drug war.

The President said the UN keeps on picking on his war on drugs but has failed to stop the killings in the Middle East and other parts of the world.

“Maybe we’ll just have to decide to separate from the United Nations,” he said in a press conference in Davao City. “If you are that disrespectful, son of a b***h, we should just leave.”

Duterte also claimed that the UN, which has provided aid to the Philippines during times of disasters, has done nothing for the country.

His officials later clarified that the Philippines is not leaving the global organization.

“We are committed to the UN despite our numerous frustrations with this international agency,” Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. said in a press conference in Pasay City last Monday.

Yasay justified Duterte’s comments by saying that he was tired, disappointed and even hungry when he made the statement.

Duterte, nevertheless, stands by his statements against critics of his brutal campaign against illegal drugs.

Asked to react to the US State Department’s statement of concern on human rights violations in the Philippines, Duterte replied: “Yes, of course, including us. The Philippine government is still worried about what is being done to the black people there in America, being shot even while lying down.”

“So I’m going to send my rapporteur also and investigate them,” he said, apparently in jest.

The President claimed that hatred is being spread against African Americans in the US. “I also want my rapporteur to tell me what have you (US) done to the poor black people being set defenseless. Why only us?” he said. 

A Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) official, meanwhile, reminded Duterte of the massive assistance the Philippines has received from the UN.

Fr. Edu Gariguez, executive secretary of CBCP’s National Secretariat for Social Action, Justice and Peace, said it was unimaginable how the country would have coped in the aftermath of Super Typhoon Yolanda in 2013 without the UN.

“I don’t think that he (Duterte) is well informed about the help that was given by the UN during Yolanda. Maybe he should be informed. The government was paralyzed during that time and it was the international bodies that helped us. We should show our utang na loob,” said Gariguez.

“If not for them (UN members), many of the affected areas might not have recovered.” – With Evelyn Macairan

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