UN pull-out threat a ‘joke’: Philip­pines’ Duterte:

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Worldwide -

MANILA — Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte has said his threat to pull the Philip­pines out of the United Na­tions for crit­i­cis­ing his deadly crime war was just a “joke”, while at­tempt­ing a light­hearted word­play on geno­cide.

Duterte on Sun­day said he may with­draw the Philip­pines from the world body af­ter a UN hu­man rights ex­pert said last week his en­cour­age­ment of se­cu­rity forces to kill drug sus­pects vi­o­lated in­ter­na­tional law.

“Can’t you take a joke,” Duterte told re­porters on Tues­day when asked if he was se­ri­ous.

Nearly 2 000 peo­ple have been killed since Duterte was sworn into of­fice on June 30 and im­me­di­ately launched his war on crime, ac­cord­ing to the na­tional po­lice chief.

Duterte has in­sisted most of the 756 peo­ple con­firmed killed by po­lice were drug sus­pects who re­sisted ar­rest, while the oth­ers died due to gang mem­bers wag­ing war­fare against each other. How­ever rights groups, some law­mak­ers and oth­ers have said se­cu­rity forces are en­gag­ing in un­prece­dented ex­tra­ju­di­cial killings.

The US State Depart­ment also this week said it was “deeply con­cerned” about re­ports of ex­tra­ju­di­cial killings.

Duterte on Tues­day crit­i­cised Agnes Cal­la­mard, the UN spe­cial rap­por­teur on sum­mary ex­e­cu­tions who said he was vi­o­lat­ing in­ter­na­tional law, brand­ing her “am­bi­tious” and “brain­less”.

Duterte also said Cal­la­mard had ac­cused him of geno­cide, which she did not. “That’s the in­ven­tion of a woman who wants to com­mit sui­cide,” Duterte said, be­fore of­fer­ing his word­play.

“You can think of geno­cide, sui­cide or what, side by side, up­per side, what­ever, what if up­per side or even up­side?”

A lo­cal re­porter then joined in, of­fer­ing “sunny side”. Duterte smiled and said: “You re­porters say that and then we will be the ones ac­cused of say­ing that. You added some­thing there.”

Duterte and his aides have pre­vi­ously cau­tioned re­porters not to take ev­ery­thing the pres­i­dent says at face value.

Duterte once promised 100 000 peo­ple would die in his war on crime with so many bod­ies dumped in Manila Bay that fish would grow fat from feed­ing on them.

He also told a re­porter he had per­son­ally killed three peo­ple. — AFP

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