Duterte cites 'legal reason' behind order to ignore drug war probes
MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte explained on Saturday, March 10, that he has a "legal reason" for ordering the Philippine National Police to ignore United Nations (UN) rapporteurs or experts who would investigate human rights abuses under his administration.
Speaking to soldiers and the police in Zamboanga City, Duterte cited the provision on self-incrimination in the Constitution and in criminal law.
"That is provided for in the Constitution itself, our Constitution," said the President.
"If you are investigating us, the rule in criminal law is, any statement or answer that you may give might incriminate you," he added.
"The best way is just to keep silent. May commander-in-chief man (You have a commander-in-chief on this)," he continued, as he reiterated that he takes "full responsibility" for his war on drugs.
On March 1, Duterte told police not to "respond" to UN rapporteurs, insisting that they have no right to "interfere" in the way he runs the country.
"Why would we be answering? Bakit, sino sila? (Why, who are they?) And who are you to interfere in the way I would run my country?" the President earlier said.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein criticized this move, saying that as a signatory to many international treaties and as a member of the UN Human Rights Council, the Philippines "has a duty to uphold human rights and to engage with persons appointed."
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque earlier said he would recommend another UN special rapporteur to conduct the probe, instead of Agnes Callamard.
On Saturday, Duterte reminded the police to continue performing their duties "within the bounds of the law."
"It is to your protection. Ako nang bahala sa akin (I can take care of myself), do not worry," he added.
He later said, "Kasi kung isang commander, magsalita diyan (Because if one commander speaks)... there will never be a uniformity in the answer. Putang-ina, marami talagang butas makikita niyan. (Son of a whore, they will see many holes there.) Because we are not situated in the same situation, or similarly situated at one time." – Michael Bueza/Rappler.com