France refutes Duterte claim on 'French law' vs Callamard

MANILA, Philippines – France refuted a claim made by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte about "French law" when he slammed United Nations (UN) rapporteur Agnes Callamard over his bloody war on drugs. 

Duterte falsely claimed in a media interview on Monday, August 28, that the accused is guilty until proven innocent under "French law." 

The President was then slamming Callamard, a human rights defender from France.

In a rare statement on Wednesday, August 30, the French embassy in the Philippines denied Duterte's claim.

"We have to point out that, as in the Philippines, the presumption of innocence until proven guilty is at the core of the French judicial system, based on the principles enshrined in the French Declaration of Human and Civic Rights of August 26, 1789," the French embassy said.

"France strongly believes in the importance of the rule of law, due process, and respect for human rights in all countries, including the Philippines," the embassy added.

Duterte on Monday blasted Callamard for saying that the death of 17-year-old student Kian Loyd delos Santos in Caloocan City should be the "last" in the government's war on drugs. 

"Republika ng Pilipinas ito, hindi teritoryo ng France," Duterte said. (This is the Republic of the Philippines, not the territory of France.)

Duterte has repeatedly used false or unverified information to condemn his critics or defend his bloody anti-drug campaign.

He also claims that the Philippines has 4 million drug addicts, a figure that has no statistical basis. (READ: Why Duterte's '4 million drug users' is statistically improbable) –

Paterno R. Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II is a senior reporter leading Rappler’s coverage of religion and foreign affairs. He finished MA Journalism in Ateneo and MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at