Rody: Feed UN rights ex­perts to croc­o­diles

The Philippine Star - - FRONT PAGE - By ALEXIS ROMERO

Af­ter be­ing told by a United Na­tions of­fi­cial that he needs to have his head ex­am­ined, Pres­i­dent Duterte said the UN hu­man rights team should be fed to croc­o­diles as he jus­ti­fied his or­der for the po­lice to ig­nore the rap­por­teurs when they come to in­ves­ti­gate his war on drugs.

“If these fools come here, are there croc­o­diles here? The ones that eat peo­ple? Throw those sons of b ****** to them,” he said in Filipino dur­ing a meet­ing with sol­diers in Zam­boanga City last Satur­day.

Duterte jus­ti­fied his or­der for the po­lice to ig­nore the hu­man rights in­ves­ti­ga­tors, say­ing he was pro­tect­ing law en­forcers from in­crim­i­nat­ing them­selves.

The Pres­i­dent, whose war on drugs has drawn flak here and abroad for al­legedly en­cour­ag­ing sum­mary ex­e­cu­tions, said the best way to an­swer the ques­tions of in­ves­ti­ga­tors is to re­main silent.

“You know, they say they are in­ves­ti­gat­ing us. My God, you fools! If you are in­ves­ti­gat­ing us, the rule in crim­i­nal law is, any state­ment or an­swer that you give may in­crim­i­nate you,” the Pres­i­dent said.

“If you an­swer their ques­tions, it will be free­wheel­ing, it is recorded. If you are called there, you are bound by what­ever you say. So the best way is to just

keep silent. Just tell them: ‘We have a Com­man­der-in-Chief.’ Haven’t I told you? I take full re­spon­si­bil­ity,” Duterte added.

Duterte claimed that his or­der is al­lowed un­der the Con­sti­tu­tion.

“(These hu­man rights groups) got an­gry be­cause the ad­vice is ‘do not an­swer ques­tions from them’ and that is for a rea­son – le­gal. That is pro­vided for in the Con­sti­tu­tion it­self,” the Pres­i­dent said.

Duterte said in­ves­ti­ga­tors would see sev­eral loop­holes from the state­ments of po­lice of­fi­cers “be­cause we are not sit­u­ated in the same sit­u­a­tion or sim­i­larly sit­u­ated at one time.”

“It’s (go­ing to) be con­vo­luted... then that places us in jeop­ardy. They will see many loop­holes, but if you shut up, just say: ‘Duterte or­dered it. De­stroy the or­ga­ni­za­tion.’ What’s wrong with that? Can I not pro­tect my coun­try by killing peo­ple and de­stroy­ing ap­pa­ra­tus?” he added.

Ear­lier this month, Duterte in­structed the po­lice to ig­nore rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the UN who will come to the coun­try to probe the killings linked to his con­tro­ver­sial crack­down on il­le­gal drugs.

Duterte in­sisted the UN hu­man rights rap­por­teurs do not have the right to in­ter­fere with the way he is run­ning the coun­try.

He also stressed that his war on nar­cotics would con­tinue un­til he steps down from of­fice.

UN High Com­mis­sioner for Hu­man Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hus­sein has scored Duterte for is­su­ing the or­der, say­ing the Philip­pine gov­ern­ment “has a duty to up­hold hu­man rights and to en­gage with per­sons ap­pointed” as a mem­ber of the UN Hu­man Rights Coun­cil and a sig­na­tory to sev­eral treaties.

Duterte is­sued the di­rec­tive a month af­ter the In­ter­na­tional Crim­i­nal Court (ICC) an­nounced that it would con­duct a pre­lim­i­nary ex­am­i­na­tion of his anti-drug cam­paign.

The ICC’s move was in re­sponse to a com­mu­ni­ca­tion by lawyer Jude Sabio, who claimed that Duterte was be- hind the death of more than 1,400 peo­ple in Davao City, where the Pres­i­dent served as mayor for 23 years. Sabio also al­leged that the war on il­le­gal drugs, one of Duterte’s cam­paign prom­ises, has left more than 7,000 drug sus­pects dead.

Sabio is the lawyer of Edgar Ma­to­bato, who claimed to be a for­mer mem­ber of a death squad with al­leged ties to Duterte.

Duterte has ex­pressed con­fi­dence that he would not be tried by the ICC be­cause “not in a mil­lion years” would the ICC have ju­ris­dic­tion over him.

Duterte also claimed that ICC pros­e­cu­tors were ig­no­rant of the law.

“We are not be­ing stub­born. Only these guys do not know their law. I hap­pen to be a lawyer. I was once upon a time a trial lawyer for al­most nine years. I should know my law,” Duterte said.

“And I should know how to pro­tect you. That’s why I said: ‘Just obey my or­der within the le­gal bounds of the law and I’ll take care of the rest,” he said.

The Pres­i­dent in­structed gov­ern­ment forces to con­tinue run­ning af­ter drug of­fend­ers and as­sured them of le­gal pro­tec­tion. He re­it­er­ated that he is ready to go to jail over his clam­p­down on il­le­gal drugs, a prob­lem that he said has con­tam­i­nated more than four mil­lion Filipinos.

“Just (per­form your duty) within the bounds of the law. I did not ask you to shoot those fools from be­hind or kill them when they are al­ready on their knees. What I’m say­ing is to de­stroy. There’s (go­ing to be) a fight and if some­body dies, they asked for it,” Duterte said.

“It is for your pro­tec­tion. I can take care of my­self. Do not worry. I will al­low my­self to be im­pris­oned. I don’t have a prob­lem with that. Just do not an­swer of­fi­cially.”

Mean­while, youth group Anakbayan yes­ter­day slammed “the full-blown crack­down scheme” im­ple­mented by the Duterte ad­min­is­tra­tion, fol­low­ing the ter­ror list­ing of 600 in­di­vid­u­als as well as the pas­sage of a re­cent law that grants sub­poena pow­ers to the po­lice.

Anakbayan said these two, cou­pled with the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s push for a na­tional ID sys­tem, are steps to le­gal­ize its cam­paign to sti­fle dis­sent.

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