Duterte: Probe me but follow Philippine laws
Christina Mendez (The Philippine Star) - September 27, 2016 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - President Duterte is ready to face investigation by the United Nations, the United States and the European Union over alleged summary executions of drug suspects, but only if they promise to follow “the process in my jurisdiction.”

“I am willing – any and all questions, I will answer, ipadala mo na iyong mga EU na bright, mga bobo, iyong mga p**g i**g ito, maniwala kayo diyan (send the bright ones from EU. They’re stupid, those sons of b**s, believe me),” he said.

“But if they think they are really brighter than us, oh, come here,” Duterte said.

“What I want is everybody should be placed under oath. So in the end, if it is proven that you are lying, I can proceed (with) a case against you. If you just listen and take down notes, then get the garbage of De Lima, that’s b**t,” he said, referring to Sen. Leila de Lima, with whom he has locked horns over human rights issues.

He recalled being probed by UN rapporteur Philip Alston for killings in Davao City when he was still mayor.

“I do not have to remind him again… they know it already,” he said.

“What I don’t like is that they threaten me. So I was quiet about it. When I was mayor, that’s already fine. But now I am President, we are getting embarrassed. I am used to it, but not our people,” he said,

Duterte maintained that domestic laws are above international laws, and that he cannot be made accountable on the basis of laws of other countries.

“I will ask them. It’s provided in the Constitution. And if they come here, I have the laws, the penal laws and the Constitution. And I would just tell them, find something here that is wrong, where you can be charged. Because if it is not a criminal offense, then any other country cannot turn it or cannot categorize it as a crime,” he said.

“I am a citizen of this Republic, the crimes and felonies are in our books,” he added.

“Before international law, there is the Constitution which is the bedrock (of Philippine democracy).”

While Filipinos speak many dialects, he said the Philippines is bound by its laws.

“You disregard the flag, the Constitution, there will be trouble,” he pointed out.

“Find me a fault there, if there is because you have to begin with the criminal laws of my land.”

He also made clear he is unfazed by a warning from Standard and Poor’s that the country’s credit rating might be affected by the current campaign against drugs.

Spewing out expletives, he said he is not afraid of S&P’s and other credit raters. “You want me to answer, you answer also. We’re on the same boat. Who are you to threaten me?”

Duterte said he has tasked his legal team to prepare a draft invitation for any international body that would want to come and probe summary executions in the country.

“It is up to them. But I have asked my lawyer here, legal (team) to prepare the letter to invite them to come and investigate. But I said it should be something live and not a one-way affair,” he said in remarks at the oath taking of officers of media covering Malacañang.

Duterte again repeated his attacks against US President Barrack Obama, reminding him of police abuses targeting African-Americans.

“Even Obama, we’ll ask him so he must be prepared. Now, why should I prepare? Who are you? In the context of things, who are you? Why are you asking me? What about you, killing the black people? Do not be such a hypocrite,” he said.

“Why me? Those who have stayed in America for a long time, let’s not fool each other. What is their treatment there of foreigners, or if you are not white? Now, you who have studied in America, have lived in America, tell me straight, walang bolahan. How are you treated there in America if you are not white?” he added.

Duterte also vented his anger at columnists whom he thought were more concerned about the impact of his attacks against the US, than about him and his constituents.

Hypocrisy

He berated the US anew for what he called its hypocrisy and for invading Iraq supposedly in search of weapons of mass destruction.  

After wasting Iraq, the US, Britain and their allies never recovered even fireworks, he said.

“That’s their hypocrisy,” Duterte pointed out.

“Kung hindi lang bawal magpatay ng Americano, patayin kita dito (If it’s not unlawful to kill an American, I’ll kill you here),” he said.

Duterte reiterated that he wanted Americans in the probe. “Ano sa palagay nila sa akin, gago (What do they think of me, stupid)?” he said.

The President reiterated that he does not care if he goes down in history as a killer or a disgraced politician.

“If I go down in history as a killer or disgraced, as I am the one impeached, it’s okay. Assassination, fine. I do not lose my honor in both. It’s fine with me,” he said.

Duterte reiterated that he has long put his integrity and his presidency and even his life on the line in his intensified war against illegal drugs.

At the same time, Duterte reiterated he cannot allow his accusers to draw “garbage” of information from De Lima and make a report out of it. 

“That’s about stupid,” he said.

He said any investigation should be a two-way street where all parties concerned would also be allowed to ask questions.

“Magtanong muna sila sa lahat then magtanong ako sa kanila (They may ask questions, and then I’ll ask them too). Rapporteur of EU, rapporteur of UN, whoever is interested, rapporteur of the state department, or Obama,” he said.

Duterte said Obama may come to the country to personally ask questions, but the President said he should also be allowed to ask Obama pertinent questions regarding the abuses and the killing of African-Americans in the US.

“Tutal wala naman siya ginawa na kasi (He has done nothing anyway because) he’s out, maybe he can come here and find time to ask me questions and I’ll answer him. I have some interesting questions to ask. I would just term it very interesting questions. You know what’s sauce for the gander is sauce for the goose,” he said.

“It cannot be just a one-way traffic here. Even if I am a President of a small republic, I will see to it that in matters of principle, we are in parity, tabla (equal). Even if we’re not as popular as America,” he added.

The President said he would never allow UN rapporteurs to work on a wrong premise fed by his political enemies.

Duterte recalled that he talked with Alston when he was mayor of Davao but nothing came out of the investigation.

“There was no result. And for all the time that I was investigated by the human rights and the rapporteur, nothing came out of it,” the President said.

The President again fired a broadside at De Lima, whom he accused of having immoral relations with her driver and for benefiting from drug money from convicts.

“Then a secretary of justice here, and if you have noticed, she kept on hammering at me. And I said, if you have a good case, if the goods are there with you, file a case,” he said.

Duterte said De Lima has been banking on the testimony of her key Senate witness, self-confessed killer Edgar Matobato, but still she dilly-dallied in the filing of charges against him.

He vowed yesterday to have De Lima put behind bars on non-bailable charges.

“Kasi nandiyan na daw ‘yung witness niya si Matobato, so go ahead. Wala siyang ginawa. Now, nandito na sila, naipit na siya (She has Matobato as witness, go ahead. She did nothing. Now, she’s in trouble),” he said.

“But this De Lima, she screwed her driver and screwed the nation,” the President said.

“Our problem is not my mouth. It’s drug addicts numbering about three million, and we have new surrenderees. My slurs and my curses –they are but manifestation of the anger inside me,” he said. “Wag nila akong takutin (Don’t threaten me).”

Duterte said it’s the US, the EU and the UN that should be investigated “because they have committed far more injustice.

“Even then there were already killings. Look at the statistics. That would make you a good journalist because you are fair, factual,” he said.

He added he is ready to “resign tonight” once it is established that he is behind the summary killings. 

He reiterated that the local police are not in the business of “mummifying” slain drug suspects, as such practice is an expertise of drug syndicates.

Meanwhile, the UN said its review of the human rights situation in the Philippines on Sept. 28 will be done from Geneva and not in Manila.

Tess Debuque, UN Information Center Manila, has clarified an 18-man team from the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights will conduct its review at the Palais des Nations at 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. (9 p.m. to midnight in Manila), and not in Manila as reported earlier.

A UN advisory said the Philippines will undergo a review because it is one of 164 states that have ratified the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Signatories to ICESCR undergo regular review.

The committee will discuss with a Philippine delegation a range of issues relating to the implementation of the ICESCR.

The advisory said the committee’s meetings with the Philippine delegation at the Palais des Nations will be public and will be webcast at http://webtv.un.org/. 

The Philippines has submitted a report to the ICESCR.

The committee will release its findings on Oct. 10.

Other countries being reviewed are Costa Rica, Cyprus, Poland, Tunisia, Lebanon and the Dominican Republic. – Rainier Allan Ronda

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