CHR: Critics of public officials should not be threatened
MANILA, Philippines — People criticize the policies and views of public officials “should not be cursed or threatened,” the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) said in a statement issued on Sunday.
“The Commission on Human Rights denounces any form of intimidation, harassment and threat to life as an assault to human dignity and freedom,” Jacqueline de Guia, CHR spokesperson, said. “We cherish our civil rights and freedoms. Those who disagree with the policies and views of elected government leaders should not be cursed or threatened.”
The CHR issued the statement days after Caloocan Bishop Pablo Virgilio David revealed that he had been receiving death threats following remarks made by President Rodrigo Duterte in a speech that useless priests and bishops of the Catholic Church should be killed.
From time to time, the President would verbally attack the Church, at one time threatening to cut off a bishop’s head if he would found to be selling illegal drugs to urging bystanders to kill or steal from bishops.
However, the President changed his tune and warned against killing bishops after he received a text message from Manila Archbishop Luis Cardinal Tagle saying that David and other priests had received death threats from someone claiming to be part of the first family.
In the Sunday statement of the CHR, De Guia noted: “Previous statements threatening Bishop David and other bishops with harm, accusing them of pocketing church collections, and ridiculing them publicly may have emboldened some followers to commit atrocious acts, the least of which is to intimidate and threaten our religious leaders. This should be stopped.”
David has expressed his strong opposition against the administration’s relentless war on drugs, which has claimed thousands of lives.
Last Tuesday, Feb. 26, he skipped the ceremonies of the Ka Pepe Diokno Human Rights Awards in De La Salle University (DLSU) Manila. His brother, Inquirer columnist Randy David, received his award on his behalf.
The CHR has also reminded public servants, particularly the Philippine National Police, “to defend and protect our hard-earned human rights to life, liberty and dignity for all.” /atm
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