Trudeau raises EJK is­sue; Duterte ‘in­sulted’

Manila Bulletin - - National News - By ARGYLL CYRUS B. GEDUCOS and ELLSON A.QUISMORIO

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)

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