Palace: Duterte respects HR, except those of drug suspects

Christina Mendez - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines – He respects human rights, except maybe those of drug suspects.

Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella yesterday said President Duterte respects human rights but that these cannot be used as an excuse to allow drugs to run rampant.

Abella was reacting to the statement of United Nations High Commissioner Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein at the 33rd session of the Human Rights Council on Tuesday where he singled out Duterte.

“The President of the Philippines’ statements of scorn for international human rights law display a striking lack of understanding of our human rights institutions and the principles which keep societies safe,” Al Hussein told the council.

Filipinos have a right to impartial judicial institutions operating under due process guarantees, and a right to a police force serving justice, the UN commissioner said.

Abella, however, said no charges have been filed against Duterte relating to human rights violations since he was mayor of Davao City and now that he is President.

“Notwithstanding the accusations hurled against him, no formal charge of human rights violations has been filed,” he said.

Extrajudicial killings are not the norm under the   Duterte administration, he added.

Abella said Duterte knows how to respect the rule of law.

“As a lawyer and former prosecutor, the President knows the limits of the power and authority of the presidency,” he said.

“In his inauguration he said, ‘I know what is legal and what is not. My adherence to due process and the rule of law is uncompromising.’”

Last Tuesday, Duterte said he does not mind   the UN calling his attention on human rights issues – but that he should not be lectured or criticized in public.

“They have to do it the right way,” he said during his speech before airmen at the Philippine Air Force Multi-purpose Hall in Villamor Air Base, Pasay City.

Coming from last week’s Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit  in Vientiane, Laos, Duterte said he rebuffed criticisms from the US and the UN for human rights abuses due to his anti-drug campaign.

Duterte said he has authorized the release of photographs depicting the horror that the Philippines suffered under the Spaniards and the Americans to show the atrocities committed against Filipinos.

“It’s the sentimental value that is really attached,” he said.

“It is the massacre that happened to the Filipinos in Samar. Take note about that in the chapters of our history.”

Duterte said if his critics would like to criticize or call his attention to human rights issues, they have to do it in the proper way.

“If you want to criticize me, you bring the matter to the United Nations. They call my attention. Then I will answer, maybe in writing or send somebody there. But I cannot go there personally.”

  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with