EXPRESSING his openness to subject himself to a “garbage probe” by human rights bodies, President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday vowed to step down from office if his critics could prove there had been state-sanctioned killings in the country.
“If there were killings, I will resign tonight. I’ll give you my resignation,” Duterte told reporters.
“I’m not a fool to keep the presidency. Truth to tell, I don’t want [the presidency].”
Duterte made his statement even as a United Nations rights rapporteur told AFP she intended to visit the Philippines to investigate Duterte’s deadly war on crime, but was seeking security guarantees for the people she planned to speak with.
Duterte last week said he would allow UN and EU experts to look into the thousands of killings since he took office on June 30, but he also challenged them to face him in public debates.
While the government has yet to issue formal invitations, the UN rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Agnes Callamard, said she would solicit one.
“I welcome the reports recently [conveyed] through the media that the president and government of the Philippines will invite a UN mission to investigate the alleged extrajudicial executions,” Callamard said in a statement emailed to AFP.
She said she would insist on a range of measures to ensure that those who spoke with her did not face retribution.
“The date and scope of the fact-finding mission will be discussed and negotiated with the government, along with essential guarantees,” she said.
In his invitation, Duterte said any probe should follow his own conditions.
“From my experience, they will get the report from Human Rights Watch, the report in Davao [City when he was mayor there], and the report here where I am President and they will ask me questions,” Duterte said.
“Then, after that, they will make a report to their commission and then it goes to the assembly. Then it is deliberated on [and] what will be my participation? The report they will be getting would be all garbage coming from [Senator Leila] De Lima.”
In an address, Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay told the United Nations not to meddle in the country’s domestic affairs, even as he said the Duterte administration was determined to observe due process and the rule of law in its war on illegal drugs.
“We hope everyone will allow us to deal with our domestic challenge in order to achieve our national goals without undue interference,” Yasay said.
He spoke during the ministerial meeting of the UN General Assembly in New York following criticisms here and abroad about the alleged rampant human rights violations due to the war on drugs.
Yasay defended the intensified campaign as he assured his audience that the police and military assigned to the campaign were under strict orders to observe due process and the rule of law.
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