CHR to Duterte: ‘Don’t take law into your hands’
The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) asked presidential aspirant and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte not to take the law into his hands after openly admitting that he has killed “criminals” in his city.
CHR chair and lawyer Jose Luis Martin “Chito” Gascon said that suspected criminals should be accorded due process and not to be subjected to a quick death.
“As we know, public officers, when they take their oath of office, promise to uphold the Constitution and the law of the land. So, no one can take the law into their own hands. Even the highest official of the land must uphold the Constitution,” Gascon said in an interview which aired over ABS-CBN News Channel (ANC).
The human rights chair issued the statement after Duterte said on Wednesday that he has killed “many” criminals during his stint as Davao City mayor.
In an interview on radio dzMM, Duterte said that he has killed three criminals and maintained that it was not a human rights violation, as the crime was committed in his presence.
Meanwhile, Gascon said that allegations of crime committed by the tough-talking mayor should be investigated.
“We think that claims of a crime having been committed, even if it is against lawless elements or criminals, must be held to account [and] must be investigated. Because we are, after all, a society of rule of law and not of men,” he said.
The human rights chair said that the CHR is willing to cooperate with the justice department “to get to the bottom of this.”
In closing, Gascon said that “abuse of authority” by any person, including the president, is inexcusable in a society which upholds rule of law.
“History shows that the Filipino people has stood up to their rights. We need to assert that we are building a society of law and that abuse of authority must be dealt with regardless of who is in power,” he said.
In another interview last Tuesday, Duterte dismissed a warning from international human rights group Amnesty International regarding his ascension to the presidency due to his human rights record.
The feisty mayor said that he killed not only 700 people but 1,700 people.
Duterte is said to be running with an anti-criminality, anti-corruption and pro-poor platform.
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