Duterte to UN: You may probe but…
PRESIDENT Duterte has accepted the challenge of the United Nations, European Union and United States to investigate alleged extrajudicial killings under his administration provided they follow Philippine laws and they will also be subjected to questioning on their respective human rights records.
“This is what I want. Investigate me but let us follow the Philippine jurisdictional requirements. We will do it in our jurisdiction. We will have sanctions,” Mr. Duterte said in a speech in Malacañang on Monday.
He said that based on his experience, the United Nations and other international bodies would gather evidence in the Philippines and submit their reports to their members without giving him a voice in their process.
“What will be my participation? What they will get is the garbage of a report to be submitted by (Sen. Leila) De Lima. If there was really a case, she herself should’ve charged me (when she was justice secretary). Now she’s passing that responsibility to another forum. I am not the mayor who will please a world body,” Mr. Duterte said.
The President said he would rip apart their charges against him by asking: “What was your source? Why do you say it’s extrajudicial killing? Was he connected with government? Was there any order? Have you heard it? When was the killing? Where was it done? And you say 1,000 killings. Tell me who was the fifth victim? What was his name?”
He said that if they wanted him to answer their questions, they should also answer his.
“It cannot be just one-way traffic here. Even if I am president of a small republic, I will see to it that in matters of principle, we are in parity, equal,” he said.
Talking to China, Russia
Mr. Duterte said he had talked to both Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev about his plan to “open up all avenues of trade and commerce” for China and Russia because he was “about to cross the Rubicon between me and the United States, at least for the six years. I would need your help and everything.”
“I’m ready to, not really break ties (with the United States), but we will open up alliances with China and I said I had a good time, a good talk with Prime Minister Medvedev. He’s there awaiting for my visit,” the President said.
“I will open up the Philippines for them to do business, alliances of trade and commerce. There will never be a time about military alliances. If America wants to go to war about the China Sea, he can have his day. I will not join a war that would only destroy my country because we are not really up to the arms of the opposite side,” he said.
Meanwhile, the government will not restrict the movements of United Nations rapporteurs coming to investigate alleged human rights violations and extrajudicial killings in President Duterte’s war on drugs.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said the Philippine government and the UN rapporteurs will consult with each other and agree on the terms of reference for the visit.
“It will be a product of consultation, not a one-way street. There’ll a two-way discussion, consultation. In the end, both sides will have to agree to the terms of reference. That’s the established protocol that has to be observed,” DFA spokesperson Charles Jose said in a statement.
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