Palace issues clarification on Duterte’s remarks on French laws

By Jose Cielito Reganit

August 30, 2017, 8:41 pm

MANILA -- Malacañang on Wednesday clarified that President Rodrigo Duterte’s remarks regarding French law were only meant to highlight the imperfections of legal systems worldwide and the endless efforts of all countries to improve them.

“The Philippines and France share the same values of respect for human rights, due process and accords primacy to the presumption of innocence,” Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said in a statement.

“The President's statements yesterday express the sentiment that while no judicial or legal system in the world is perfect, countries are continuously working to refine their laws and improve their respective national systems in order to ensure protection of human rights while maintaining peace and order within its territory,” Abella said.

Malacañang issued the clarification after the French Embassy refuted Duterte’s remarks that French laws are different from Philippine laws over the presumption of innocence of a suspect.

“Sa kanila, they can detain a person almost indefinitely, under the French law. And the French law it says, you are guilty and you have to prove your innocence, ganoon iyan. Presumption dito, inosente ka,” Duterte said last Monday in Pampanga.

In the statement released Wednesday, the French Embassy pointed out that “as in the Philippines, the presumption of innocence until proven guilty is at the core of the French judicial system, based on the principles enshrined in the French Declaration of Human and Civic Rights of August 26, 1789."

The French declaration states that "every man is presumed innocent until he has been pronounced guilty."

The embassy likewise stressed that “France strongly believes in the importance of the rule of law, due process and respect for human rights in all countries, including the Philippines.” (PNA)