MANILA- Human rights advocates criticized President Rodrigo Duterte Friday after he said his “only sin” was extrajudicial killings.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) said the President's remark should prod the International Criminal Court to review the complaints against Duterte.
"This admission should erase any doubt about the culpability of the president," HRW said in a statement.
"It is time for Duterte to answer for what may amount to crimes against humanity, especially because the killings continue to happen on a daily basis..." it added.
Malacañang on Friday said the President must not be talking seriously when he made the statement.
“Alam mo naman si Presidente, ano. Hindi na naman iyan seryoso ‘no… I don’t think na ang konteksto niyan ay literal,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque told dzRH.
(You know the President. We know he was not serious about it... I don't think that should be taken literally.)
The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) meanwhile said the issue of killings should not be taken lightly.
"Sagrado ang buhay. Hindi ito dapat pinaglalaruan. Hindi rin tama na gawing paksa ng biro ang pagkamatay ng libu-libong Pilipino na patuloy na humihingi ng hustisya," lawyer Jacqueline Ann de Guia, spokesperson of the CHR, said in a statement.
(Life is sacred. It should not be played with. It is also not right to make the death of thousands of Filipinos still looking for justice the object of one's jokes.)
De Guia added the CHR continues to investigate cases of extrajudicial killings in the country, particularly those linked to the government's crackdown on illegal drugs.