Duterte: Feed United Nations rights experts to crocodiles

Duterte justified his order for the police to ignore the human rights investigators, saying he was protecting law enforcers from incriminating themselves. PCOO/File

Duterte: Feed United Nations rights experts to crocodiles

Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) - March 12, 2018 - 12:01am

MANILA, Philippines — After being told by a United Nations official that he needs to have his head examined, President Duterte said the UN human rights team should be fed to crocodiles as he justified his order for the police to ignore the rapporteurs when they come to investigate his war on drugs.

“If these fools come here, are there crocodiles here? The ones that eat people? Throw those sons of b****** to them,” he said in Filipino during a meeting with soldiers in Zamboanga City last Saturday. 

Duterte justified his order for the police to ignore the human rights investigators, saying he was protecting law enforcers from incriminating themselves.

The President, whose war on drugs has drawn flak here and abroad for allegedly encouraging summary executions, said the best way to answer the questions of investigators is to remain silent.

“You know, they say they are investigating us. My God, you fools! If you are investigating us, the rule in criminal law is, any statement or answer that you give may incriminate you,” the President said.

“If you answer their questions, it will be freewheeling, it is recorded. If you are called there, you are bound by whatever you say. So the best way is to just keep silent. Just tell them: ‘We have a Commander-in-Chief.’ Haven’t I told you? I take full responsibility,” Duterte added. 

Duterte claimed that his order is allowed under the Constitution. 

“(These human rights groups) got angry because the advice is ‘do not answer questions from them’ and that is for a reason – legal. That is provided for in the Constitution itself,” the President said.  

 Duterte said investigators would see several loopholes from the statements of police officers “because we are not situated in the same situation or similarly situated at one time.” 

“It’s (going to) be convoluted... then that places us in jeopardy. They will see many loopholes, but if you shut up, just say: ‘Duterte ordered it. Destroy the organization.’ What’s wrong with that? Can I not protect my country by killing people and destroying apparatus?” he added. 

Earlier this month, Duterte instructed the police to ignore representatives of the UN who will come to the country to probe the killings linked to his controversial crackdown on illegal drugs.

Duterte insisted the UN human rights rapporteurs do not have the right to interfere with the way he is running the country. 

He also stressed that his war on narcotics would continue until he steps down from office. 

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein has scored Duterte for issuing the order, saying the Philippine government “has a duty to uphold human rights and to engage with persons appointed” as a member of the UN Human Rights Council and a signatory to several treaties. 

Duterte issued the directive a month after the International Criminal Court (ICC) announced that it would conduct a preliminary examination of his anti-drug campaign. 

The ICC’s move was in response to a communication by lawyer Jude Sabio, who claimed that Duterte was behind the death of more than 1,400 people in Davao City, where the President served as mayor for 23 years. Sabio also alleged that the war on illegal drugs, one of Duterte’s campaign promises, has left more than 7,000 drug suspects dead.

Sabio is the lawyer of Edgar Matobato, who claimed to be a former member of a death squad with alleged ties to Duterte. 

Duterte has expressed confidence that he would not be tried by the ICC because “not in a million years” would the ICC have jurisdiction over him.

Duterte also claimed that ICC prosecutors were ignorant of the law.

“We are not being stubborn. Only these guys do not know their law. I happen to be a lawyer. I was once upon a time a trial lawyer for almost nine years. I should know my law,” Duterte said.

“And I should know how to protect you. That’s why I said:  ‘Just obey my order within the legal bounds of the law and I’ll take care of the rest,” he said.

The President instructed government forces to continue running after drug offenders and assured them of legal protection. He reiterated that he is ready to go to jail over his clampdown on illegal drugs, a problem that he said has contaminated more than four million Filipinos. 

“Just (perform your duty) within the bounds of the law. I did not ask you to shoot those fools from behind or kill them when they are already on their knees. What I’m saying is to destroy. There’s (going to be) a fight and if somebody dies, they asked for it,” Duterte said. 

“It is for your protection. I can take care of myself. Do not worry. I will allow myself to be imprisoned. I don’t have a problem with that. Just do not answer officially.”

Meanwhile, youth group Anakbayan yesterday slammed “the full-blown crackdown scheme” implemented by the Duterte administration, following the terror listing of 600 individuals as well as the passage of a recent law that grants subpoena powers to the police. 

Anakbayan said these two, coupled with the administration’s push for a national ID system, are steps to legalize its campaign to stifle dissent. – With Romina Cabrera

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