MANILA, Philippines – In the second Commission on Elections (Comelec) presidential debate, labor leader and presidential candidate Leody de Guzman said the Philippine government has no credibility to talk about human rights.
In response to the question about repression in Myanmar, De Guzman said before addressing other countries’ concerns, the Philippine government must first address the human rights concerns in the Philippines. The reason for this, the labor leader said, is that the government is the chief human rights violator in the country.
“Pero dapat unahin natin mismo ‘yong ating gobyerno na dapat ‘yong ating gobyerno mismo ay mayroong pag respeto doon sa ating sariling mamamayan. Wala siyang kredibilidad, walang, mawawalan ng kredibilidad ‘yong ating pamahalaan magsabi niyan kung siya mismo ay pangunahing sumusupil doon sa karapatan ng kanyang mamamayan,” De Guzman said during the second presidential debate of the Commission on Elections on Sunday, April 3.
(But our government must first have respect for our own citizens. It does not have credibility [to talk about Myanmar] if our own government is the main violator of human rights.)
Even before the campaign period officially started, De Guzman had a clear stance on human rights issues. In a Rappler Talk interview in October last year, De Guzman said he would order a local probe into the thousands of extrajudicial killings that transpired under President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration.
The labor leader also said that the country should give its full cooperation to the International Criminal Court (ICC) probe in the country. De Guzman said he also wants the Philippines to rejoin the ICC.
The ICC decided to formally open an investigation into Duterte’s drug war last year. Shortly after the ICC started its preliminary probe three years earlier, Duterte responded by withdrawing the country from the international court.
On corruption and ‘political butterflies’
Meanwhile, in responding to a question about fighting corruption, De Guzman said he will strengthen existing laws and agencies fighting corruption.
“Ang gagawin ko pagtibayin natin kasalukuyan nag-eexist na mga batas at i-enforce natin ‘yong mga kasalukuyang na institusyon na naghahabol ng mga magnanakaw sa ating gobyerno. Labas d’yan tingin, ko ay kulang ‘yan dapat ay paunlarin natin baguhin natin ‘yong sistema ng politika at i-reform natin ang eleksyon sa ating bansa,” De Guzman said.
(What I will do is to strengthen the existing laws and institutions that go after plunderers in the government. Aside from that, I think that’s not enough and we need to reform the political and electoral system of our country.)
As part of his proposed political and electoral reforms, De Guzman also wants to ban poll watchers, and instead replace them with volunteer college students.
“Huwag na rin natin payagan ‘yong mga watcher na kinukuha ng mga kandidatong bilyonaryo. Gamitin na lang natin ‘yong mga college graduate at hingan natin ng isang araw ng paglilingkod sa ating bayan. ‘Yong ating mga college student ‘yong gamitin nating watcher,” De Guzman said.
(Let’s not allow the watchers being used by billionaire candidates. Let’s use our college graduates and ask them to serve our country for a day. Let’s use our college graduates to be our election watchers.)
The labor leader also said there should be a clear law on politicians jumping from different political parties.
“Dapat talaga magkaroon na ng klarong batas tungkol don sa mga political butterfly dito sa Pilipinas at nang sa gano’n ay magkaroon ng matibay na tuntungan at pundasyon ‘yung ating political system sa bansa,” De Guzman said.
(There should be a clear law about political butterflies here in the country so our political system will have a strong foundation and platform.) – Rappler.com