PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte defended his order to policemen and military forces to keep their mouth shut should they be probed by United Nations investigators, saying that the right to remain silent is embedded in the Constitution.
“You know, I [commanded you to remain silent]. [The opposition got mad] because my advice is, “Do not answer questions from [the investigators]. And that is for a reason, legal. That is provided for in the Constitution,” Duterte told troops at the Edwin Andrews Air Base in Zamboanga City Saturday night.
“[The UN] said that they are investigating us. Oh my God, you idiots. If you are investigating us, the rule of criminal law is, ‘Any statement or answer that you may give might incriminate you’. Whatever you answer is recorded and if you are called there, you are bound by whatever you told them,” Duterte said.
The President again gave assurances that he will take “full responsibility” for any conclusion the UN may reach in its investigation.
“Just tell them “there is a Commander-in-Chief. That is what I told you. I take full responsibility. Just work within the bounds of the law. It is for your protection. I will be liable for us. Do not worry,” he said.
“The statements will be mixed. It is going to be convoluted. That places us in jeopardy. A lot of holes will be seen. So just shut up. Tell them Duterte ordered this,” the President said.
Duterte first ordered his military forces to keep silent about the drug war on March 1.
“I have your back. When it comes to human rights or any rapporteur inviting you, do not answer. Do not bother,” Duterte said during the opening of the National SWAT Challenge in Davao City.
UN officials have criticized Duterte over his bloody war on drugs that had left thousands dead.
Meanwhile, Sen. Panfilo Lacson was dismayed over the statement of UN human rights chief that President Rodrigo Duterte needs “psychiatric evaluation.”
Lacson said the country should file a protest against UN human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein.
“Coming from a high official of the United Nations, that is uncalled for and unbecoming of a high official,” said Lacson in a radio interview.
Lacson said the UN official insulted a leader of a country who was elected by more than 16 million people in a democratic exercise.
“It is not right for someone who is not even a Filipino to insult the President,” the senator added.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano also criticized the irresponsible and disrespectful comments of Al-Hussein.
“The Philippines is perturbed over the manner in which a ranking UN human rights official can overstep his mandate and insult leaders of member-states without first giving them due process,” Cayetano said in a statement.