Hontiveros: Duterte ‘single biggest threat to human rights’ in Philippines
MANILA, Philippines — On the commemoration of the International Human Rights Day, opposition Senator Risa Hontiveros on Monday called President Rodrigo Duterte as the “single biggest threat to human rights” in the country.
“The President has singlehandedly rolled back human rights safeguards and made the country a haven for human rights violators,” Hontiveros said in a statement.
The senator pointed out how Duterte’s “bloody and abusive war on drugs” killed thousands of people, whom are mostly poor, while “big-time druglords like Peter Lim continue to be free” and corrupt government officials aid the smuggling of billions of pesos worth of shabu.
She also noted how the rule of law was “grossly distorted in favor of the corrupt, political cronies and plunderers” while the justice system is efficient when legally harassing members of the opposition and the media.
“The right to dissent has been denigrated into plots to destabilize the government. The justice system is mostly efficient when legally harassing members of the opposition and the critical media, but grinds to a complete halt when dealing with the likes of Imelda Marcos,” Hontiveros said.
Women’s rights, Hontiveros said, is also under constant attack under the Duterte administration as women are threatened with rape and violence, and publicly shamed and reduced to body parts.
“The President’s language has become the primary medium through which sexism and misogyny are translated into real attacks against women, especially women in government who are highly critical of his anti-people policies,” she said.
The senator also zeroed in on how the Church is not spared by Duterte’s “violent rhetoric,” noting Duterte’s tirades against Caloocan Bishop Pablo Virgilio David and threats to kill Catholic bishops.
“Many are concerned that this will create a chilling effect on the exercise of religion and contribute to stifling the right to dissent,” she said.
Hontiveros then urged the public to push back and and stand up against threats to human rights.
“When the institutions we build to protect us are used against us, we prove aspiring tyrants wrong and take them back,” Hontiveros said.
“Human rights are not suggestions or ornaments. They are fundamental anchors to a society of fairness for the many, and not tools to be used by the privileged few,” she added. /je
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