If CHR gets P1,000 budget, Duterte wants UN to monitor drug war

Pia Ranada
If CHR gets P1,000 budget, Duterte wants UN to monitor drug war
The Philippine President wants the UNCHR to assign 'investigators' to accompany police on anti-drug operations in case the CHR is given only P1,000 for its 2018 budget

MANILA, Philippines – If Congress ends up giving the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) a P1,000 budget, President Rodrigo Duterte will invite the United Nations Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR) to monitor police operations for any abuses.

“‘Yung kay [CHR Chairperson Chito] Gascon, sabihin ko na lang sa House of Representatives (As for Gascon, I will just tell the House of Representatives), I will personally, through an official channel, invite the human rights commission of the United Nations to set up a satellite office here,” said Duterte on Monday, September 18.

He was visiting the wake of a Caloocan City policeman, Police Officer 3 Junior Hilario, who was killed while chasing a gun-for-hire and drug trafficking suspect.

“Lahat ng operation ng pulis, they will embed an investigator, magpasok sila ng kasama sa pulis, wala ako problema diyan,” said Duterte.

(All police operations, they will embed an investigator, they’ll assign someone to go with police, I have no problem with that.)

The President said his administration has no intention of abolishing the Philippines’ CHR any time soon, but if they are left with a meager budget, he will just turn to the UNCHR to fill in the CHR’s shoes.

“‘Di naman ina-abolish ang human rights commission. Standby sila diyan hanggang si Gascon pa (The human rights commission isn’t being abolished. They are on standby while Gascon is there),” said Duterte. (READ: Gascon urges Duterte to view CHR as part of ‘check and balance system’)

The President’s new proposal is in stark contrast to his previous remarks about the UN.

Duterte has slammed the international body and its officials for criticizing his drug war and cursed them even before he took his oath as president. He threatened to pull the Philippines out of the UN then said later on that he was only joking.

On Monday, Duterte repeated his earlier proposal that if Congress won’t grant the P678-million budget for the CHR, he wants those funds to be used for the purchase of body cameras for police going on anti-drug operations.

“With that P600 million, I can buy all the cameras in the world for every policeman to wear,” said Duterte. 

He thinks even Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa should wear one.

“Payag ako sa lahat, pati si Bato, sa gitna ng ulo niya (I agree with this for everyone, even Bato, on his forehead),” joked Duterte.

The President gave assurances that “media are free to cover” the PNP’s anti-drug operations. – Rappler.com

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Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is a senior reporter for Rappler covering Philippine politics and environmental issues. For tips and story suggestions, email her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.