Palace clarifies: Duterte threat to abolish CHR made ‘out of frustration’
A Palace spokesperson on Thursday said President Rodrigo Duterte was just “expressing his frustrations” when he said the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) should be abolished.
In a press briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said the president is simply “expressing his frustration” on the “apparent biases” of the Commission.
“He’s merely…not merely, he’s actually stating his frustration regarding the CHR,” Abella told reporters.
“However, it is a Constitutional commission and it cannot be abolished by a mere legislation. The chairperson and its members serve at the pleasure of the President,” he strssed.
When asked if the President might fire CHR Chair Chito Gascon, Abella said: “Technically, he can be replaced at his [Duterte’s] pleasure.”
Abella, however, quickly clarified that his statement was not an “empty threat.”
“We do not talk about empty threats, we talk about concerns,” the spokesperson said.
In a press conference after his State of the Nation Address on Monday, Duterte slammed the CHR, which has been critical of alleged human rights violations by the police and military.
“And when the time comes, yung CHR, yung opisina dito (the CHR, its office), you are better abolished,” he said.
“I will not allow my men to go there to be investigated. Human Rights Commission, you address your request through me because the Armed Forces is under me and the police are under me. Kaya ‘pag kinuwestyon ninyo sila for investigation, dadaan muna sa akin (If you question them for investigation, they will have to go to me first).”
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