Statement of Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter S. Cayetano

World Needs More Leaders Like Rodrigo R. Duterte

09 March 2018 — The Philippines takes grave exception to the irresponsible and disrespectful comments of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights that cast untoward aspersions regarding the President of the Republic of the Philippines.

This action of High Commissioner Zeid Ra’ad Al-Hussein is completely uncalled for and demeans not only the Head of State of a Member-State, but tarnishes the reputation of the Office of the High Commissioner.

The comments of the High Commissioner bring great dishonor to the Human Rights Council and its noble endeavors. There is no reason whatsoever for such an unmeasured outburst directed against President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and it should not be repeated.

The Philippines is perturbed over the manner in which a ranking UN human rights official can overstep his mandate and insult leaders of member-states without first giving them due process.

This could set a dangerous precedent that the Council would have to immediately address as otherwise member-states could also fall victim to those who seek to politicize and weaponize human rights to undermine legitimate governments.

The Philippines finds it unfortunate that the High Commissioner made such a statement without first ascertaining the facts surrounding the inclusion of Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, in the petition filed by the Department of Justice against the CPP-NPA.

Contrary to the impression of the High Commissioner, Ms. Victoria Tauli-Corpuz was included in the list not because of her position as Special Rapporteur but because of her alleged links with the Ilocos-Cordillera Regional Committee (ICRC) of the CPP-NPA, which, if the High Commissioner is not aware of, is in the list of foreign terrorist organizations of both the United States and the European Union.

The High Commissioner may wish to know that the petition for proscription filed by the Department of Justice is a civil case that seeks to declare the CPP-NPA as a terrorist organization for its continuing terrorist activities in the Philippines. This action is in accordance with Republic Act 9372 or the Human Security Act of 2007 of the Philippines and is intended to protect the Filipino people.

Ms. Tauli-Corpuz and the other individuals mentioned in the petition are there because of their membership in or association with the CPP-NPA as reported over the years by the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

If indeed Ms. Tauli-Corpuz and the others named in the petition are innocent as they claim they are, they should see this as an opportunity to clear their names and prove in court that they have never been members of or associated with the group.

The High Commissioner may not be aware of it but he is being used in a well-orchestrated effort to destabilize a legitimate government that is being undertaken by parties with self-serving agendas and who stand to benefit the most by unseating President Duterte.

The world actually needs more Dutertes―leaders with empathy; leaders who listen to their people; and leaders who are ready to sacrifice their lives to protect their people.END