Ex-CHR chair: Duterte's anti-crime vow could turn off investors

Christian V. Esguerra, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 20 2016 08:43 PM

Etta Rosales and Rodrigo Duterte. ABS-CBN News/Composite

Presumptive President Rodrigo Duterte’s vow to wipe out criminals, including a plan to hang them twice until the head is severed from the body, could turn away foreign investors and set back the Philippines’ economic gains, a former human rights official warned Friday.

WATCH: Duterte threatens outlaws with 'double hanging'

Loretta Ann Rosales noted that the Philippines had ratified eight human rights treaties, including the one against “torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”

The Philippines is also a state party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which states that “no one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life.”

“The Philippines is going to have a black eye,” Rosales, a former chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights, told ABS-CBN News.

Duterte is set to become the country’s 16th president on the strength of more than 15 million votes. He vowed to replicate nationwide his iron-fist approach to criminals while he was Davao City mayor for two decades.

He wants Congress to restore death penalty by hanging robbers and rapists. Police were also told to “shoot to kill” members of organized crime if they resorted to violence during arrest.

Rosales warned that the United Nations’ Human Rights Council would hold the Philippines accountable if Duterte “goes on a rampage and just lets every Tom, Dick, and Harry in local government do away with the rule of law.”

She said Duterte’s disregard for the rule of law could eventually affect the economy.

“If the culture of violence is encouraged under the guise of trying to eradicate criminality by killing criminals—who are just suspects by the way—that is going to discourage foreign investments from coming in,” she said.

The Philippine economy grew by 6.9 percent during the first quarter this year, surpassing those of 10 other major economies in Asia.

“President Duterte should think twice about his usual efforts to try to eradicate crime the fastest way possible because it’s going to have an impact on our relations with other nations,” Rosales said.

The Philippines ratified the following human rights conventions:

- Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

- International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women

- International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination

- International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

- International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families

- Convention on the Rights of the Child

- Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.