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Asia Today ISSN 1861-4604 Thursday, October 18, 2018


Duterte stuns: Asks Human Rights boss, 'Are you a Pedophile'

He has repeatedly clashed with the agency

Share on Facebook September 18, 2017, Reporter : BNN, Reader : 600


MANILA, Philippines - Faced with intense questioning and massive outrage over the killings of three teenagers, allegedly as part of the country’s war on drugs, Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has fought back, much in his own style.

On Saturday, Duterte taunted the head of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), asking if he was a pedophile because of his focus on the killing of teenagers in the government’s bloody war on drugs.

Further, commenting on the CHR’s proposed 678 million Philippine peso ($13.2 million) budget, Duterte suggested to lawmakers that the budget could be used to equip police with body cameras if the legislators preferred not to restore funding for the agency.

He has repeatedly clashed with the agency over his anti-drugs campaign over the last year.

For 2018, the CHR has requested a budget of 1.72 billion pesos - however, the government has proposed 678 million instead. 

Duterte’s allies in the lower house of Congress voted to allocate it 1,000 pesos, but critics of the drugs war saw this as retaliation for its efforts to investigate thousands of killings in the past 15 months, including those of two teenagers in August.

Referring to CHR head Chito Gascon, Duterte asked, “Why is this guy so pre...suffocated with the issue of young people, especially boys? Are you a pedophile? Why are you smitten with teenagers? Are you? I’m having my doubts. Are you gay or a pedophile?”

Responding to the president, CHR spokeswoman Jacqueline de Guia said Duterte’s remarks took public attention away from a critical human rights issue in the country.

De Guia said, “These are remarks that do not show respect for the dignity of others. The public must understand that the death of children concerns us all, as they are especially vulnerable and need state protection.”

Critics have said that police are executing suspects under what is effectively a government policy. 

However, Duterte has rejected that claim and the police have said they only kill in self-defense.

The CHR has long claimed that it lacks the manpower and resources to fully investigate the killings.

Activists have said that a majority of the killings are of drug users and small-time peddlers, with few high-profile arrests.

Vice President Leni Robredo has locked horns with Duterte numerous times and has now said the lawmakers’ move regarding CHR’s budget effectively abolishes the constitutional body.

The crackdown is largely supported by Filipinos that view it as a means to tackle rampant crime as Duterte has linked it drug addiction as the root for crime.

Further on Saturday, Duterte reiterated there will be no let-up in the campaign, which he said was targeted at organized criminals trafficking in drugs and not at “teenagers without a sin.”

At the same time, Duterte is also fighting communist rebels following a breakdown in peace talks with the government.

He said in a statement that he remained open to resuming negotiations to end the conflict that has dragged on for nearly five decades.

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