Duterte asks foe: Are you a pe­dophile?

The Australian - - WORLD -

MANILA: Philip­pine Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte asked the head of the coun­try’s Com­mis­sion on Hu­man Rights if he was a pe­dophile for fo­cus­ing on the killing of teenagers in the gov­ern­ment’s bloody war on drugs.

Mr Duterte also sug­gested to leg­is­la­tors us­ing CHR’s pro­posed 678 mil­lion pe­sos ($16.5m) bud­get to buy the po­lice body cam­eras if they do not want to re­store fund­ing for the agency, which he has clashed with over his anti-drugs cam­paign.

The CHR re­quested a bud­get of 1.72 bil­lion pe­sos for next year, but the gov­ern­ment pro­posed 678m. Mr Duterte’s al­lies in the lower house of congress then voted to al­lo­cate it 100 pe­sos, in what crit­ics of the drugs war said was re­tal­i­a­tion for its ef­forts to in­ves­ti­gate thou­sands of killings in the past 15 months, in­clud­ing those of two teenagers in Au­gust.

“Why is this guy so ... suf­fo­cated with the is­sue of young peo­ple, es­pe­cially boys? Are you a pe­dophile?” Mr Duterte asked, re­fer­ring to CHR head Chito Gas­con. “Why are you smit­ten with teenagers? Are you? I’m hav­ing my doubts. Are you gay or a pe­dophile?”

Mr Duterte also ac­cused Mr Gas­con of be­ing a spokesman for the op­po­si­tion and crit­i­cised his scru­tiny of po­lice anti-drug ac­tiv­i­ties. “Why can’t you move on to other is­sues that are be­set­ting this coun­try?” Mr Duterte said, cit­ing the suf­fer­ing of the peo­ple in the be­sieged south­ern city of Marawi.

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