PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has called on the United Nations (UN) to deploy human rights investigators to monitor the police’s anti-drug operations, amid public outrage over recent killings of teenagers by policemen and the House of Representatives’ decision to defund the Commission on Human Rights (CHR).
“I will, personally and through an official channel, invite the [people from]UN Commission on Human Rights…that they should have a satellite office here. They (UN) can have an investigator embedded in police operations. I will have no problem with that,” Duterte said in a mix of Filipino and English after visiting the wake of PO3 Junior Hilario who was killed in an anti-drug operation.
The UN Commission on Human Rights is the old name of the UN Human Rights Council, an intergovernmental body tasked by the UN system to promote and protect human rights.
If the House does not restore the P648-million budget of the Commission on Human Rights for 2018, Duterte said he would use the amount to buy body cameras for policemen.
“If Congress will insist not to give it (budget) to CHR, then I will use it for the [body]camera of the policemen. With P600 million, I can buy all the cameras in the world. The CHR will just be on standby, not abolished, [as long as CHR Chairman Jose Luis Martin]Gascon is still there,” Duterte said.
“The UN can deploy their people in every police station. I am ordering the police, do not operate until the people from the UN Commission on Human Rights are there and every police should wear a body cam,” Duterte added.
The President has accused Gascon, a former official of the erstwhile ruling Liberal Party, of using the CHR for politics, even dismissing him as a “pedophile” for being fixated on the death of young boys.
On August 16, 17-year-old Kian Loyd de los Santos was killed by Caloocan City police in an alleged shootout, but autopsy findings showed that the Grade 12 student was shot in the back while kneeling and with his face down.
Two days later, 19-year-old Carl Angelo Arnaiz figured in a supposed shootout with police, allegedly after robbing a tax driver in Caloocan. Autopsy findings indicated that the former UP student was tortured.
Early this month, the body of Arnaiz’s last known companion, Reynaldo de Guzman, 14, was found in Gapan, Nueva Ecija.
CHR officials quickly defended Gascon after Duterte called him a “pedophile.”
In a text message to The Manila Times Monday, CHR spokesman Jackie de Guia said, “Remarks such as these are unhelpful and deviate the attention of the public from the critical human rights issues in the country. Further, these are remarks that do not show respect for the dignity of others.”
CHR Commissioner Gwen Pimentel-Gana also defended Gascon in an interview with dzBB on Sunday.
“Pedophile cannot be used as a metaphor to describe a person who fights for the rights of the less fortunate. We can see that,” she said.
Duterte made the remark after meeting with a policeman who was freed from captivity by the New People’s Army in Davao on Saturday.
“You keep saying teenager every day. You are so fixated with the death, that is why I suspect you are a pedophile,” Duterte said.
De Guia said: “The public must understand that the death of children concerns us all as they are especially vulnerable and need state protection. These are our own children and the future of our country.”
with GLEE JALEA