Duterte hits ‘that black woman’ and the ‘undernourished’ one

Christina Mendez - The Philippine Star
Duterte hits âthat black womanâ and the âundernourishedâ one

Bensouda and Callamard

MANILA, Philippines — After President Duterte insulted United Nations special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions Agnes Callamard and International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor Fatou Bensouda for looking into the human rights allegations under his term, Malacañang maintained yesterday that the Philippine government has lost trust in UN representatives probing the drug war.

Callamard and Bensouda recently got heaps of insults from Duterte, who described them as “undernourished” and “black,” respectively.

“Go ahead, you investigate me. But I assure you, you will never have jurisdiction over my person,” Duterte said in a speech before local officials in Pampanga.

“I assure you, ‘pag tumatanggap pa lang ng subpoena sasabihin ko sa kanila (the moment I receive subpoena, I’ll tell them), ‘Determine first if you have jurisdiction over my person and the criminal acts that I allegedly committed,’” he said.

The President challenged the bodies if they have jurisdiction over the reported human rights violations that have marred his bloody drug war.

“Sige raw, sige raw (Go, go). You have to have jurisdiction first bago ka magsalita diyan (before you speak out). Pero secret ko ’yan. Hindi ko sinasabi ’yan (But that’s my secret. I’m not sharing that),” he said. It was at this point that he threw insults at Callamard and Besouda.

“Mahabol nila, eh, pero pagka ngayon magkasalubong kami, ah lalo ‘yung mga abogado nila, ‘yung itim pati ‘yung isa ’yung payat, si Callamard, undernourished, walang kain (They can pursue it, but if we meet along the way now, especially their lawyers, the black one and the other one who is skinny, does not eat)…,” he said.

On the eve of International Women’s Day, Duterte asked the two ladies not to mess with him.

“Don’t f*** with me, girls. Kaya ako nasasaktan ho (That’s why I am hurt),” Duterte said.

At Malacañang, presidential spokesman Harry Roque talked about the administration’s lack of trust in Callamard while the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) called out Duterte for asking cops not to respond if summoned by the body.

Roque said Callamard’s premature judgment on the administration’s drug war has caused “deep wounds” that might take time to heal.

“Siguro po matatagalan bago mahilom iyong mga sugat na nagresulta doon sa ginawa ni Callamard (Perhaps, it will take a long time for the wounds caused by Callamard to heal). Ang masakit po diyan kay (What hurts with) Callamard, she came here unannounced at that time when we were in the process of negotiating her investigation,” Roque said.

“So this is what happens when the UN Human Rights Council does something that would cause a member-state of the UN to lose trust in some of its rapporteurs,” he added.

Roque also took exception to the statement of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein by saying that “the entire human rights mechanism of the UN is built around sovereignty, and it will not work if rapporteurs become untrustworthy as far as sovereign states are concerned.”

Roque was quick to clarify that the Philippines recognizes its obligation to adhere to human rights.

“I’m not disputing that the Philippine government has an obligation on human rights. But what we are only saying is that we are not ignoring sovereignty, including there at the UN Human Rights Council,” he said in Filipino.

Roque said a country needs to agree to any probe before the UN commences its investigation.

“What we cannot forgive is Callamard, who came to the Philippines) uninvited and made her conclusions as if she had conducted an investigation,” he said.

Bleak situation in Philippines

Painting a bleak picture of the situation in the Philippines, Zeid warned about deepening repression, increasing threats and several cases for impeachment and dismissal, and Duterte’s “authoritarian” approach.

Zeid on Wednesday presented UNHRC an annual report and oral update that highlighted numerous human rights situations across the world, including the Philippines.

Following ICC’s announcement of plans to open an investigation, Zeid said Philippine authorities announced their willingness to work with the UN on drug-related challenges.

“I deplore President Duterte’s statement last week to elite police units that they should not cooperate ‘when it comes to human rights, or whoever rapporteur it is’ and the continued vilification of this Council’s special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings by the authorities,” Zeid said, addressing the 37th Session of the HRC in Geneva.

Zeid stressed that the government has a duty to uphold human rights and to engage with persons appointed by the council.

He said he is concerned by “deepening repression” and increasing threats to individuals and groups with independent or dissenting views, including opposition senators, current and former public officials, the Commission on Human Rights, human rights defenders and journalists.

“Several cases for impeachment or dismissal have been launched against members of the Supreme Court, the Office of the Ombudsman and other institutions representing democratic safeguards,” Zeid said, noting that Sen. Leila de Lima has been arbitrarily detained for over a year without clear charges.

“This authoritarian approach to governance threatens to irreparably damage 30 years of commendable efforts by the Philippines to strengthen the rule of law and respect for the human rights of the people,” he stressed.

Zeid urged all states to examine the effectiveness and human rights impact of their current approaches to the so-called war on drugs. – Pia Lee-Brago



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