MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday dared an opposition lawmaker to meet with him face-to-face, days after the solon said the International Criminal Court's belief that crimes against humanity were committed under the Chief Executive's term was a "relief."
Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Carlos Zarate earlier said that "with the recently intensified red-tagging, arrests and extra-judicial killings of critics of the administration and the political opposition, we are relieved that the ICC has voiced its concern on the issue."
“To the violators of human rights, you have been forewarned. Nothing is forever; not even impunity,” he said in a statement.
Duterte, whose administration has long been dogged with accusations of human rights violations, taunted Zarate to "prove he's a man" and meet up with him.
"Gusto mo sa bahay niyo. Ako mag-akyat sa bahay niyo, san dito sa Maynila o san ka nakatira? Mag-usap tayo, 'wag na 'yang NPA, NPA, komunista, komunista. Lalaki sa lalaki," he said.
(If you want, let's talk in your house. I'll go to your house. Where? Here in Manila or where do you live? Let's talk. Not the NPA, communist talk; let's talk man to man.)
"Kung lalaki ka talaga, tanggapin mo hamon ko. San mo gusto tayong magkita?" the President added.
(If you are really a man, take my dare. Where do you want to meet?)
Zarate said he was "always ready and willing to talk" if " it is for the benefit of the people."
In his speech, Duterte said arch critic former senator Antonio Trillanes IV can act as the lawmaker's bodyguard.
"Sige ako lang mag-isa, dalawa kayo. Totoo 'yan. Paalaminin niyo 'yung media kung saan," he said.
(I'll be alone, you go together. That is true. Tell the media where.)
Duterte had accused progressive groups in Congress, which Zarate is part of, as legal fronts of the communist movement.
During an earlier meeting that was supposed to discuss the government's action in solving the COVID-19 pandemic, the President railed against Zarate, at one point describing the lawmaker as dog poop.
Zarate just dismissed the remark.
"Walang patutunguhan if you will just papatulan mo 'yong gano'ng mga patutsada dahil it will only divert the issue," Zarate said.
(Nothing will come out of if you will take seriously those tirades because it will only divert the issue.)