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Duterte says he's 'on the right track' on human rights

GMA News Online logo GMA News Online 3/20/2017 Gutierrez, Angelo
In a press conference on Wednesday, February 1, 2017, members of Amnesty International, bares the results of its investigation on the Duterte administration's war on illegal drugs. According to the group, the wave of drugs-related killings appears to be 'systematic, planned and organized' by authorities and could constitute crimes against humanity. GMANews © GMANews In a press conference on Wednesday, February 1, 2017, members of Amnesty International, bares the results of its investigation on the Duterte administration's war on illegal drugs. According to the group, the wave of drugs-related killings appears to be 'systematic, planned and organized' by authorities and could constitute crimes against humanity. GMANews

President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday expressed confidence that he is "on the right track" as far as human rights is concerned.

Despite international attention towards the spate of killings related to his administration's war on drugs, Duterte reiterated that other countries cannot criticize him over human rights, saying it is a problem they also encounter.

"Sabihan kita, 'Bakit sa inyo, wala?'" he said at a press conference before his departure for an official visit to Myanmar.

"Do not ever do that because if you can say one bad thing about me, I can say five bad things about you. So what's the— bakit ka maghanap ng away, eh lahat naman tayo nagkakamali?" he added.

"Pero hindi diyan sa human rights. I am on the right track, I would say," he went on.

Duterte made the comment when he was asked about his meeting with Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop in Davao City.

Asked about the said visit, Duterte said he and Bishop did not discuss human rights, and instead delved into "transnational crimes and terrorism."

"They are so courteous. Baka alam nila, because if you say that, if you utter those things in my presence, you will get an insult," he said.

Bishop's trip to Duterte's turf was criticized by international group Human Rights Watch, warning that she "needs to be careful not to allow her visit to provide legitimacy to Duterte's policies."

During the press conference, Duterte reiterated that his order to policemen is to try not to die during anti-crime operations.

"Of course we'll just follow the rules provided for by law, and it's in the Revised Penal Code, and if you are a criminal and you are caught in the act, do not fight because if you place the guy's life... place it in jeopardy of losing it, my order is to shoot you," he said.

"Follow the law and we're all right. Drop the shabu and nobody will die tomorrow," he added.

The HRW recently released a report about 24 incidents, with 32 deaths, related to the administration’s war against drugs.

It found that the Philippine National Police “ha(s) repeatedly carried out extrajudicial killings of drug suspects, and then falsely claimed self-defense.” It claimed that police planted evidence, and “appeared to be working closely” with masked gunmen who carry out vigilante killings.

The report details how the President, through his words, incited and instigated the police forces to commit the said killings.

Malacañang has slammed the said report as "thoughtless and irresponsible."

Amid separate statements against the drug war from the European Parliament and the United Nations, the HRW appealed for more "international pressure" on the Duterte administration to stop the campaign. —ALG, GMA News

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