Pacific News Minute: Duterte Calls U.N. Human Rights Head An “Idiot” As Drug War Crackdown Continues

Dec 27, 2016

Credit PCOO EDP / Wikimedia Commons

Since being elected President of the Philippines earlier this year, Rodrigo Duterte has described President Obama and Pope Francis, among others, as a “son of a whore.” Now, you can put the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in their company. Neal Conan reports in today’s Pacific News Minute.

“Idiot” and “moron” were some of the other terms directed at Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein.

“You go and file a complaint in the United Nations,” President Duterte added, “ I will burn down the United Nations if you want.”

The rant came after the UN Human Rights chief said that Duterte should be investigated after he told a news conference that he had personally shot and killed three men while he was Mayor of Davao. In response to a question, Duterte said he roamed the city on a motorcycle and killed criminal suspects to encourage the police to follow suit. 

The UN Human Rights chief said, if true, that would “clearly constitute murder.”

Quote: “It would be unthinkable for any functioning judicial system not to launch investigative and judicial proceedings when someone has openly admitted to being a killer.”

Since Duterte’s election as President, as many as six thousand alleged suspects have been killed by police and vigilantes. Last week, three members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee wrote to ask the State Department if money from US training assistance for Philippine Law Enforcement has been used to support extrajudicial killings or other gross abuses of human rights. ”Rather than address the systemic problems related to the country’s drug crisis,” the letter said, “President Duterte has instead pledged to kill another 20 to 30 thousand people.”

Both Duterte and his war on drugs remain widely popular in the Philippines. Last week, police seized more than thirteen hundred pounds of methamphetamine in two raids in suburban Manila.