Locsin blasts UN exec for urging Duterte not to sign anti-terror bill
MANILA, Philippines — She may know French but she doesn’t know English.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said this of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, who earlier urged President Rodrigo Duterte to “refrain” from signing the controversial anti-terrorism law.
In a speech delivered during the 44th regular session of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on Tuesday, Bachelet asked Duterte not to sign the anti-terror bill.
“My take on this is that Bachelet may know French but she doesn’t know English and the law is in the english language. She should read it. It was very careful,” Locsin said in an online media forum on Wednesday.
“I cannot argue with those who deliberately mistake the facts…What can you do with people who don’t read? This is why I’ve always been an advocate of English as the universal language. Can’t be French,” he added.
Bachelet issued the call as she presented to the 47-member council her officer’s report on the killings and alleged human-rights violations in the Philippines.
The passage of the measure “heightens concerns on the blurring of important distinctions between criticism, criminality, and terrorism,” according to Bachelet.
“I would urge the President to refrain from signing the law and to initiate the broad-based consultation process to draft legislation that can effectively prevent and counter violent extremism, but which contains some safeguards to prevent this misuse against people engaged in peaceful criticism and advocacy,” the UN human rights chief had said.
“And of course my office is ready to assist in such a review,” she added.
The bill, which is now awaiting Duterte’s signature, has been met with widespread opposition from various groups, which raised fears that the measure could spur human-rights violations and suppress dissent.
But its authors in Congress, particularly Senator Panfilo Lacson, have repeatedly defended the proposed law, saying the measure contained enough safeguards against abuse.
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