Escudero on Duterte: Tough-talking leader doesn’t mean rights violator
Senator Francis Escudero defended President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday, saying being a “tough-talking” leader does not automatically make him a “human rights violator.”
Escudero, a member of the majority bloc in the Senate, noted that the only basis of Commission on Human Rights (CHR) chairperson Jose Luis “Chito” Gascon for saying that the killings in the country were state-sponsored was the President’s public pronouncements.
“Dahil ‘yung datos kung titingnan ninyo, ‘yung dami at bilang ng pinapatay ay halos nandun pa rin naman sa bilang katulad sa mga nagdaang adminstrasyon,” he said at a weekly forum in the Senate.
(If you look at the data, the number of those who were killed is almost the same with the number of the previous administration.)
“Ang pagkakaiba nga lang, una may inanunsyong giyera laban sa droga at pangalawa, ‘yung pananalita ni Pangulong Duterte na patayin ito, patayin ‘yan, bombahin ito, barilin ‘yan. ‘Yun lamang naman ang pagkakaiba.”
(What’s different is that firstly, the war on drugs was announced, and secondly, President Duterte’s way of speaking, saying kill this, kill that, bomb this, shoot that. That’s what’s different.)
“But that’s often by itself should not make it state sponsored—meaning a tough-talking President does not automatically make him a human rights violator unless proof is shown that indeed he is or he’s involved directly in any such orders to kill extrajudicially any suspects or any persons,” said the senator, who is also a lawyer.
In the absence of death penalty, Escudero explained that all killings are considered extrajudicial killings (EJKs).
“So sino mang pinatay, clearly is extrajudicial kasi wala naman tayong death penalty pa e. So whether state-sponsored o ginawa ng pribadong tao o may magkagalit, killing pa rin siya, extrajudicial pa rin siya at hindi pa rin siya sa tinatalaga ng batas,” he said.
(So whoever is killed, clearly is extrajudicial because we don’t have death penalty. So whether state-sponsored or done privately or caused by a quarrel, it’s still killing, still extrajudicial and not yet assigned by the law.)
The senator also came to the defense of Senator Alan Cayetano, who was recently named as the new Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs, from some observation that the latter was not truthful when he defended the human rights record in the country during the Universal Periodic Review of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva, Switzerland.
He said Cayetano, who led the Philippine delegation team to the UPR, was just probably “confrontational” in defending the President and the administration.
Gascon, on the other hand, was chided by Escudero for complaining before the international community when he could have openly expressed his sentiments here.
“Hindi naman siya gaanong nagsasalita dito tapos sa ibang bansa pa siya magsasalita at magrereklamo. Sana dito siya mas maging aktibista at hindi ‘yung parang naglalaba o naghuhugas tayo ng maduming damit sa publiko, sa international community pa man din,” Escudero said.
(He wasn’t speaking out here as much, then he speaks out and complains in another country. I wish he’d become more active here and not air dirty laundry in public, especially in the international community.)
“Sana kung ano man ang problema ni chairman Gascon, dito niya mismo sabihin at sana mas maingay siya dito kesa sa ibang bansa (I hope that whatever Gascon’s problem is, he says it here and be more vocal here rather than in another country),” the senator added. JE/rga
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