MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday said his earlier threat to abolish the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) was just a joke.
In a news conference after his State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 24, Duterte said the CHR should be abolished if it will only distract his war on drugs by investigating law enforcers accused of wrongdoing.
The President, however, said on Wednesday that his statement was obviously a joke since CHR is a constitutionally created body.
“Sabi ko, biro lang naman ‘yang, ‘I will abolish you.’ I need Congress to do that. Eh ‘di nile-lecturan pa ako ng mga u***, hindi ko raw magawa ‘yan. Alam ko,” he said in a speech at the 113th founding anniversary celebration of the Bureau of Internal Revenue.
The President has repeatedly criticized the CHR for calling out his war on drugs and other controversial statements.
In his speech, Duterte said the CHR was siding with the criminals by raising the supposed human rights violations being committed by law enforcers in the war on drugs.
“Iyan ang mahirap diyan because they look at criminals as… Itong human rights guys, they look at criminals as if they are saints,” Duterte said.
The Duterte administration has many times defended its drug war against critics, saying reported figures of deaths- from 7,000 to 9,000- were overblown.
Latest Philippine National Police (PNP) data show that a total of 3,200 drug personalities were killed in anti-drug operations from July 1, 2016 to June 20, 2017, or 9 killed daily in presumed legitimate anti-drug operations in the first year of the Duterte administration.
The PNP has also determined that out of the 12,833 homicide cases from July 1, 2016 to June 16, 2017, 2,098 deaths were drug-related and 2,535 non-drug related.
A total of 8,200 homicide cases were under investigation "with motives to be determined," the PNP earlier said.