Two days before International Human Rights Day, Duterte ramps up attacks on human rights —Karapatan

Two days before the commemoration of the International Human Rights Day, human rights alliance Karapatan said that the “pronouncements from high government officials, led by none other than the fascist-in-chief President Rodrigo Duterte himself, lay bare their dangerous rhetoric that exhibits their willful mangling of what human and people’s rights in the country means.”

Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay called Duterte a “liar pathetically caught in the circus of his own lies as he contorts and distorts his own statements to desperately deceive the public and the international community.”

“Duterte openly encourages the cold-blooded murders of alleged drug suspects in his ‘narco-list’ but he disowns his own hitlist. He denies red-tagging human rights advocates and progressive lawmakers but he is rabidly ‘identifying’ us as ‘criminals’ and ‘legal fronts’ of communists. His spokesperson disagrees with the order for the police to use yantok to hit quarantine violators but Duterte suggests that cops should start using batons. Duterte’s lies belie his foolish grandstanding that he is seriously committed to honor and fulfil the government’s human rights obligations,” Palabay continued.

During his televised address last night, December 7, Duterte distanced himself from his so-called “narco-list” following the killing Los Baños, Laguna Mayor Caesar Perez, whose name was included in the list of 44 local government officials which Duterte publicly read out last March 14, 2019. In disowning the list Duterte said: “Hindi sa akin 'yan, ibinigay lang sa akin. Hindi ako gumagawa ng listahan. Hindi ako pulis, hindi ako sa intelligence” (“That is not mine, that was just given to me. I did not make that list. I am not the police, I am not the intelligence”).

In the same address, Duterte also insisted that they are not only “tagging” but rather “identifying” groups such like Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, the Makabayan coalition, and women’s group Gabriela as “legal fronts” of communists — singling out Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate by connecting him to the New People’s Army — who are “conspiring to overthrow the government.” Calling communists as “criminals,” Duterte also threatened to name “all” members of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) before his term ends as he declared that “there will be no ceasefire ever again” with communist rebels during his term.

The Karapatan officer stated that “Duterte is clearly concocting another hitlist so he could publicly name the people who should be killed next. Duterte’s act of publicly naming people, from so-called ‘narco-politicians’ to his threat to name all the members of the NDFP, is an act of inciting violence, and it has resulted in the killings of the people Duterte has named — a fact that Duterte himself acknowledges. How come that Undersecretary Severo Catura of the Presidential Human Rights Committee is making a fool out himself in claiming that police brutality and extrajudicial killings are merely false narratives being spread by human rights groups and the opposition?”

“Let’s get one thing clear: Duterte wasn’t lying when he proudly declared just a few days ago that he doesn’t care about human rights. Duterte and Catura’s lies and denials only expose that the ongoing ‘Human Rights Summit’ and Duterte’s supposed affirmation of his ‘serious commitment in honoring and fulfilling our treaty obligations and prioritizing the human rights agenda’ is nothing more than a farce and a desperate charade to cover up the outright inadequacy of domestic mechanisms of accountability — precisely because the Duterte administration has zero intentions of confronting the rapidly deteriorating human rights crisis in the Philippines and exacting justice for its victims,” she ended.