UN rights chief to Duterte: Bounties may spark chaos

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 15 2016 03:34 PM

Presidential Candidate Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte Gigie Cruz, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - An official of the United Nations (UN) has slammed President-elect Rodrigo Duterte for offering bounties for the vigilante killing of drug lords and for endorsing the restoration of the death penalty law. 

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein warned Duterte that rewarding extra-judicial killings and reviving capital punishment could throw the country into a bedlam.

"The offer of bounties and other rewards for murder by vigilantes, and his encouragement of extrajudicial killings by security forces, are massive and damaging steps backwards which could lead to widespread violence and chaos," he said in a statement release Tuesday. 

"I urge the Government to reconsider such initiatives, and to refrain from its plans to reintroduce the death penalty, in a country which has been a leading force in the campaign to end the practise." 

READ: Duterte seeks aid of congressmen in death penalty revival

Zeid also reminded Duterte that he is bound by international law to defend the rights of all his people, including journalists, activists and his detractors. 

"I remind the incoming President of the Philippines that international law, which is binding on his administration, requires him to protect the rights of all his people, including journalists, civil society activists and human rights defenders who expose malfeasance. Criticism of people in power is not a crime. 

"However, incitement to violence, and extra-judicial assassination, are crimes and are prohibited under multiple conventions to which the Philippines has acceded. The people of his country have a right to the rule of law," he said. 

Duterte earlier drew a firestorm of criticism that many journalists are killed for being corrupt. 

Two UN rapporteurs and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has condemned Duterte's statement for allegedly justifying the extra-judicial killings of the press. 

Duterte's camp, however, claimed local news reports misquoted the firebrand mayor and that he has never incited violence against the media. 

READ: Duterte tells UN experts: Go home, get some sleep

The 71-year-old Duterte has since refused to hold press conferences and grant interviews, leaving his spokesmen to address journalists.