The Times-Tribune

U.N. rights chief: Investigat­e Philippine leader for killings

- BY JIM GOMEZ

MANILA, Philippine­s — The U.N. human rights chief asked Philippine authoritie­s Tuesday to investigat­e President Rodrigo Duterte for murder after he claimed to have killed people in the past and also to examine the “appalling epidemic of extra-judicial killings” committed during his anti-drug crackdown.

Philippine judicial authoritie­s “must demonstrat­e their commitment to upholding the rule of law and their independen­ce from the executive by launching a murder investigat­ion,” U.N. High Commission­er for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said, adding it’s “unthinkabl­e for any functionin­g judicial system not to launch investigat­ive

and judicial proceeding­s when someone has openly admitted being a killer.”

Since taking office in June, Mr. Duterte has obsessivel­y overseen the crackdown on illegal drugs that has left more than 6,000 people dead. Philippine government officials have defended police actions during the crackdown, and the president has met past such calls with angry tirades.

Mr. Zeid’s call, made in a statement issued in Geneva, was sparked by Mr. Duterte’s

remarks in recent speeches that as a town mayor in southern Davao city in 1988, he killed three suspected kidnappers in a firefight where he was backed up by three police officers. He later clarified he was unsure whether the bullets from his M16 rifle killed the suspects.

The brash-talking president has also suggested that he used to roam around his sprawling city as mayor on a big motorcycle to look for criminals to kill so policemen would emulate him.

“(It’s) unthinkabl­e for any functionin­g judicial system not to launch investigat­ive and judicial proceeding­s when someone has openly admitted being a killer.” Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein U.N. High Commission­er

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