Trudeau raises EJK issue; Duterte ‘insulted’
President Duterte said he was not quite happy when Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau raised the issue on human rights and extra-judicial killings (EJKs) related to his drug war during a private conversation Tuesday.
Trudeau had earlier revealed to reporters that he brought up concerns over EJKs and human rights issues during talks with Duterte.
“I actually had an opportunity to have a conversation with President Duterte just before our meeting earlier this morning in which I emphasized the people to people ties between Canada and the Philippines, the great connection there,” Trudeau told reporters covering the 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit at the jam-packed international media center in Pasay City.
“But I also mentioned human rights, the rule of law and specifically, extrajudicial killings as being an issue that Canada is concerned with,” he said.
According to Duterte, he is not obligated to explain to anybody the situation in the country related to his administration's all-out drug war.
“You know, I was elected by the people of the Republic of the Philip- pines. I only answer to the Filipino people,” he said.
According to Duterte, he is insulted whenever a foreigner criticizes his drug war as they do not really know about the domestic affairs of the country.
“I said I will not explain, it is a personal and official insult,” Duterte said.
“That is why you hear me throwing down epithets and curses, ‘'bullsh*t,’ because it angers me,” he added.
“When you are a foreigner, you don’t know what exactly is happening in this country,” he added.
“Canada has earned a reputation of having strong and sometimes frank... always frank, sometimes firm discussion around rule of law and human rights with partners around the world,” said Trudeau, who has a movie star-like following in the Philippines, thanks to his good looks.
Duterte, meanwhile, encouraged other world leaders not to rely on data on the drug war deaths provided by his political enemies.
The current ASEAN chairman, Duterte, came to power 17 months ago on the strength of a vow to eradicate what he described as deeply entrenched illegal drug problem in the archipelago.
Since then, thousands have reportedly been killed, most of them drug suspects. That state agents were allegedly involved in these killings have made Duterte the subject of international criticism the past few months.
Trudeau, who gave French translations to his answers to reporters, underscored the importance of raising these issues to the host president.
“We know that talking about human rights is an essential part of a path forward, it must be done in an honest and frank way, but it has to be done. We have to talk about the high expectation we must have to protect life, to uphold the law and human rights,” he said.
REACHING OUT — Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President Duterte reach for each other’s hands for the photo session with Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) leaders at the start of the ASEAN-Canada Summit yesterday at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City. (Ali Vicoy)