MANILA -- Malacanang reminded Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte that the country is a “government of laws and not of men” amid the local official’s declaration of war against rice smugglers.
“Kailangan naman po ang lahat ng mga opisyal ng pamahalaan, sila man ay nasa pambansa o sa lokal na pamahalaan, ay kilalanin ang mga proseso ng batas dahil tayo po ay government of laws, not of men,” Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. told radio dzRB.
Duterte has been widely quoted by media as having threatened to kill rice smugglers.
“I want smuggling of rice in my city stopped. But if you still do not stop your smuggling activities, I will kill you,” Duterte was supposed to have said.
“If still you refuse to stop smuggling rice into my city, then I will go to where you are and check on your warehouse using my visitorial rights. I will check on your electricity consumption, your books with the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and business licenses and everything,” Duterte added.
The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) already chimed in, blasting Duterte’s reaction as “unbecoming of a public official.”
Duterte retorted immediately, telling CHR chief Etta Rosales to just “shut up.”
“Batid po natin na bilang isang elected public official ay batid din naman niya ang kanyang mga responsibilidad. At para sa amin lang po, paalala lang sa lahat ng mga lingkod-bayan na tayo po ay dapat magpairal ng rule of law,” Coloma said in the radio interview.