MANILA – After inviting the media to monitor the police's anti-illegal drug operations, President Rodrigo Duterte extended the same to the human rights arm of the United Nations.
The police under Duterte have been hounded by allegations of irregularities in the conduct of anti-illegal drug operations. These allegations were highlighted by the deaths of teenage boys Kian delos Santos and Carl Arnaiz.
The President said in order to avoid suspicions of irregularity in police operations, he would suggest for the UN’s right body to send representatives to police operations so they could monitor any possible human rights violations.
“I will, personally, through an official channel, invite the human rights commission of the UN to set up a satellite office here,” Duterte told reporters in a chance interview in Caloocan City.
“Ako pa ang mag-provide ng office ng human rights commission ng UN. Sila maglagay, every operation, station commander, PNP, do not operate without the human rights commission ng UN.”
Duterte issued this statement days after Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said he was gravely concerned over the Filipino leader’s war on drugs.
"In the Philippines, I continue to be gravely concerned by the President's open support for a shoot-to-kill policy regarding suspects, as well as by the apparent absence of credible investigations into reports of thousands of extrajudicial killings, and the failure to prosecute any perpetrator," he said.
In response, Malacañang hit the UN rights chief's "sweeping" statement and asserted that the President has not given any shoot-to-kill order under his drug war.
Meanwhile, the President reiterated his proposal that Congress use the P623 million budget of the Commission on Human Rights to instead augment the budget of the Philippine National Police.
The President earlier proposed that the CHR’s multi-million budget, which was reduced by the House of Representatives to a measly P1,000, could be used to buy body cameras for policemen.
At least 119 lawmakers from the lower chamber voted for the P1,000 budget for the CHR, led by Chito Gascon, for supposedly failing to do its job.
House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez has slammed the CHR for looking after the rights of suspected criminals while turning a blind eye on the victims of criminals.
The CHR, however, said being a constitutional commission, its primary mandate is to look after possible abuses committed state forces. It said the police and other law enforcers are the ones who should ensure that the citizens are well-protected.