MANILA -- Vice President Leni Robredo on Wednesday cautioned President Rodrigo Duterte against buying into “fake news” that she had invited United Nations bodies to look into his drug war, now that she’s coordinating government anti-narcotics efforts.
Robredo said she had met only with the UN Office on Drugs and Crime and officers of the United States Embassy here, noting they had all been assisting government in solving the drug menace.
“Wala akong UN prosecutor na kakilala, wala akong sinulatan, wala akong inimbita. Kaya kung may nakarating sa kanya na meron akong iniimbita, fake news yun,” she told reporters, adding: “At sana si Presidente, hindi naniniwala sa fake news.”
(I don't know any UN prosecutor. I didn't write to anyone nor did I invite anyone. If he got word that I invited someone, that's fake news... And I hope the President doesn't fall for fake news.)
Duterte on Tuesday threatened to slap a human rights advocate in front of the vice president if she brought him over to the Philippines.
The President appeared to have been incensed over a Nov. 11 tweet by Phelim Kine, formerly of Human Rights Watch who had told Robredo: “My bags are packed and I'm ready to come to the #Philippines to help advise how to end this murderous ‘drug war.’”
"Meanwhile here is my Recommendation No. 1: Arrest #Duterte and his henchmen for inciting & instigating mass murder," Kine said in the same tweet.
"I dare you, kung talagang dedicated ka, papasukin mo dito ang p********** 'yan. Pupuntahan kita sa opisina mo, sampalin ko 'yan sa harap mo," Duterte said in a late-night press conference Tuesday.
(I dare you, if you are that dedicated, bring that person here. I will slap him in front of you.)
Duterte has been sensitive about criticism of his drug war, which has killed more than 5,000 people in 3 years, based on official government estimates.
Human rights groups here and abroad have been calling on his administration to treat drug addiction as a public health issue, and not just a law enforcement problem, an approach Robredo has adopted since co-chairing the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD).