METRO MANILA – Shortly after a pompous show of diplomacy at the 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit, President Rodrigo Duterte seemed to lash against the United Nations for its firm stance against extra-judicial killings.
On a press conference held after the closing ceremony of the 31st ASEAN Summit on November 14, 2017, Duterte was asked about the much contested issue of human rights violations. This was after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in another press conference that he strongly upholds the dignity of human rights.
Duterte, who earlier showed amiable attitude to his ASEAN and western counterparts, responded to the press’ questions in his usual tactless manner.
“Did it not occur to you, to wonder why, ang ipinapakita nila extra-judicial killings?” (Did it not occur to you, to wonder why, they only show extra-judicial killings?) Duterte asked the media in return, implying that the press reporting about purported human rights violations were publishing biased reports.
He went on saying that the United Nations’ Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Killings Agnes Callamard claimed that drugs do not harm anyone.
“And (Agnes) Callamard came here, tagging along the black guy. They go to say in public that drugs do not harm human beings.”
When the press tried to steer the conversation back to the original question, which was how Duterte responded to Trudeau’s strong support to human rights, the Philippine president insisted that he preferred not to comment.
“I said I will not explain…when you are a foreigner, you do not know what is happening here,” the president said.
European Union’s Financial Support
On a different topic, Duterte stressed that the Philippines will not accept any financial support from the European Union (EU). The Philippine government rejected all grants from the EU, to stop it from interfering in the country’s internal affairs.
This “internal affair” referred, again, to the issue of human rights violations.”
“Forget it (grants from EU). We will survive. Even if we have to eat dried fish, we will survive,” Duterte said in response to questions about Philippines’ refusal to accept EU grants. He continued with his usual bravado, “If I will accept dollars from a country which thinks (I am) a killer, why come to us? Keep your money.”
“I have shortage of sleep, but I will recover.”
At the end of his press briefing, Duterte said that he has not yet rested completely since the start of the ASEAN Summit.
However, he claimed that he was satisfied that everything was in order, based on the reports he received from some government personnel.
The president continued to give some remarks. Wary that his statements would drift to other topics, he decided to end the press briefing at around 10:30 in the evening.