Duterte slams CHR chief: Are you a pe­dophile?

The Philippine Star - - FRONT PAGE - – Christina Mendez, Janvic Ma­teo, Jess Diaz

Pres­i­dent Duterte last night heaped in­sults anew at Com­mis­sion on Hu­man Rights (CHR) Chair­man Chito Gas­con, ask­ing him if he is “gay” or a “pe­dophile.”

Duterte again hit the CHR for al­legedly be­ing so con­cerned with the killing of teenagers in the gov­ern­ment’s war against drugs but ig­nor­ing other cases of abuse.

“Itong si Gas­con…parang pe­dophile kang pu **** i** ka! Bakit ka mahilig masyado sa teenager (This Gas­con…he is like a pe­dophile, son of a b **** ! Why are you so fond of teenagers)?” Duterte said in Davao af­ter the re­lease of SPO2 Ge­orge Canete Rupinta, who had been held for three months by the New Peo­ple’s Army.

“Nag­dududa tu­loy ako eh. Bakla ka o pe­dophile ka? (I now have my doubts. Are you gay or a pe­dophile)? Why is this guy suf­fo­cated about the is­sue of young peo­ple, es­pe­cially boys? Are you a pe­dophile? Do you want the young? You

al­most cry blood. Of course it’s re­pug­nant. You are so fix­ated with young males. So I have doubts if you are a pe­dophile, gago ka (you are stupid), id­iot,” he added.

Duterte also said he wants to meet Gas­con one of these days, and ac­cused the CHR chief of be­ing a po­lit­i­cal pawn and spokesman of the Lib­eral Party and other crit­ics who want him out of the pres­i­dency.

“Ev­ery day in Marawi, there are ter­ror­ists rap­ing women but you are not say­ing any­thing. You rode on the line of the po­lit­i­cal en­emy, that is the prob­lem.

“Puro teenager. Teenager… p*** puli­tika la­hat (Al­ways teenager. Teenager…son of a b **** , it is all pol­i­tics). Can’t you move to other is­sues that are be­set­ting this coun­try?” he added.

De­spite the spate of sum­mary killings of teenagers al- leg­edly by the po­lice, Duterte main­tained that he would not stop the bloody war against drugs, “oth­er­wise, the coun­try will go to the dogs.”

“I ei­ther rise or fall on the is­sues of cor­rup­tion, drugs and crim­i­nal­ity. There will be no let-up in the cam­paign against or­ga­nized crime. Drugs is an or­ga­nized crime,” he added.

As to the P1,000 bud­get the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives has given to the CHR for 2018, Duterte said it will be up to Con­gress to re­store the P600mil­lion bud­get of the CHR.

‘False info’ hit

Be­fore Duterte’s lat­est tirade against Gas­con, the CHR chair­man yes­ter­day crit­i­cized the spread of false in­for­ma­tion that of­fi­cials of the hu­man rights body are serv­ing at the plea­sure of the Pres­i­dent.

In a post on Face­book, Gas- con slammed the cir­cu­la­tion of an ex­ec­u­tive or­der, signed by the late pres­i­dent Co­ra­zon Aquino, man­dat­ing that the terms of of­fice of CHR of­fi­cials are sub­ject to the will and plea­sure of the chief ex­ec­u­tive.

The or­der has been de­clared un­con­sti­tu­tional by the Supreme Court (SC) af­ter it was chal­lenged by for­mer CHR chief Mary Con­cep­cion Bautista in 1989.

Aquino’s un­con­sti­tu­tional or­der is be­ing spread amid calls of the al­lies of the Duterte ad­min­is­tra­tion for Gas­con to va­cate his post in ex­change of re­ceiv­ing its bud­get, which was cut by the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives to P1,000.

“The ex­ec­u­tive or­der was de­clared un­con­sti­tu­tional by the honor­able Supreme Court. That it is once more be­ing sur­faced with­out con­text is another in­di­ca­tor of a cur­rent world we live in where al­ter­na­tive facts (false­hoods!) be­ing passed on as truth,” Gas­con said.

He also said such ac­tions pre­vent gen­uine di­a­logue and mean­ing­ful con­ver­sa­tion on public mat­ters in com­mon and safe space.

Gas­con also quoted a sec­tion of the SC rul­ing, which stated that the CHR would not be able to func­tion in­de­pen­dently if the ten­ure of its chair­man and mem­bers is made de­pen­dent on the plea­sure of the Pres­i­dent.

De­fend­ers of the CHR are also call­ing out false claims be­ing cir­cu­lated against the hu­man rights body, in­clud­ing its al­leged fail­ure to in­ves­ti­gate the Men­di­ola, Ha­cienda Luisita and the Ki­da­pawan mas­sacres.

One post noted that the Men­di­ola mas­sacre hap­pened be­fore the CHR was cre­ated, while the hu­man rights body has re­leased res­o­lu­tions on the Ha­cienda Luisita and Ki­da­pawan mas­sacres.

CHR com­mis­sion­ers have also stood be­hind Gas­con amid calls for his res­ig­na­tion.

“He has a term and man­date to ful­fill. What has he done to war­rant him to re­sign?” said com­mis­sioner Gwen­dolyn Pi­mentel-Gana, sis­ter of Duterte’s ally Se­nate Pres­i­dent Aquilino Pi­mentel III.

Com­mis­sioner Roberto Cadiz also stressed on Thurs­day that the chair­man and com­mis­sion­ers are in­de­pen­dent and do not serve at the plea­sure of the Pres­i­dent.

Gas­con ear­lier de­nied calls for him to re­sign, say­ing it would only worsen the bleak hu­man rights sit­u­a­tion of the coun­try if an ap­pointee of the Duterte ad­min­is­tra­tion is sit­ting at the of­fice tasked to mon­i­tor the hu­man rights vi­o­la­tions, es­pe­cially those com­mit­ted by state forces.

Fund drive

Mean­while, a group of hu­man rights lawyers said they are fi­nal­iz­ing a mech­a­nism to raise funds for the CHR should it re­ceive a mea­ger bud­get from the Duterte ad­min­is­tra­tion.

In a state­ment, Ar­tikulo 3 said they might open a bank ac­count where the public can de­posit their dona­tions to fund pro­grams of the CHR.

“We are thank­ful for the numer­ous queries and pledges re­ceived by Ar­tikulo 3 from groups and in­di­vid­u­als in­ter­ested in do­nat­ing to CHR. One in­di­vid­ual even pledged a per­sonal donation of P100,000 for the agency,” said the group’s pres­i­dent Hilda Clave.

The lawyers’ group ear­lier crit­i­cized the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives for its de­ci­sion to trim down the bud­get of the con­sti­tu­tional body.

Al­varez: crit­ics of CHR bud­get cut are ‘gago’

Speaker Pan­ta­leon Al­varez yes­ter­day said crit­ics of the House’s de­ci­sion to give CHR a mere P1,000 bud­get are “gago” or stupid.

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