MANILA - An official of the Commission on Human Rights on Monday described as "counter-productive" President Rodrigo Duterte's joke that the constitutionally-protected body should be abolished.
"It's not a thing he should be joking about," CHR Commissioner Karen Dumpit said in a press conference after their forum against the death penalty entitled "End Crime, Not Life."
"We hope that messages like this does not continue because it is counter-productive."
Former CHR Chair Etta Rosales, who also attended the forum, chimed in, saying the President is supposed to lead the people.
"That is not the role of the President. As Chief Executive, you are supposed to lead the people," she said.
The President has repeatedly criticized the CHR for calling out his war on drugs and other controversial statements.
In a 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,” he 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.