Serge Osmeña asks Duterte to invite int’l rights group to Davao | Inquirer News
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Serge Osmeña asks Duterte to invite int’l rights group to Davao

Sergio Osmena

Sen. Serge Osmeña III INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

AS SEN. SERGIO Osmeña III urged Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday to invite Amnesty International (AI) to his city so it could check on its concerns about his human rights record, the mayor’s top party official promised the public a “new Duterte.”

“You will now start calling him Santo Rodrigo,” said Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, president of Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), under which Duterte is running as presidential candidate.

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Osmeña called on Duterte to be “more circumspect” in his words, especially now that he has joined the presidential race.

“Now, he (Duterte) has to be more circumspect because what you say in Manila is sometimes broadcast throughout the world,” Osmeña told reporters.

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Concerns about Duterte’s human rights record in his city were raised by no less than AI, which has been monitoring his activities “for the longest time,” particularly persistent rumors of his links to the vigilante “Davao Death Squad.”

AI officials were also particularly concerned about Duterte’s latest pronouncements that he intended to revive the death penalty and to implement it on a weekly basis.

Speaking to reporters, Osmeña said AI should send an investigating team and check out what it was hearing about Duterte.

He said this was because the mayor sometimes tended to engage in big talk to scare drug lords.

“[Duterte] should [tell AI] please come over and check for yourselves to be transparent and I’m sure Mayor Duterte wants to be transparent,” the senator said.

Osmeña believed that Duterte would “tone down” his statements, especially since he “got into trouble for the Pope Francis comment.”

He was referring to Duterte cursing the Pope as the mayor bewailed the traffic congestion during the papal visit in January.

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Osmeña acknowledged that Duterte should act now as a national candidate.

For Pimentel, reports linking Duterte to violations of human rights were “at the level of rumors” because no cases had been filed against the mayor.

But he said Duterte would address the rumors because it was a political issue and would likely be raised in the campaign.

The senator said the mayor would now be “more conscious” in issuing statements, in terms of words and language, including trying not to curse.

“Continue to monitor the pronouncements of Mayor Duterte beginning today and compare these with his past pronouncements and you judge whether he is a changed man and whether he has reached the level of a saint,” Pimentel said.

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TAGS: Amnesty International, Elections 2016, Nation, News, Sergio Osmeña
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