MANILA -- The Philippines takes grave exception to the "irresponsible and disrespectful" comments of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights against President Rodrigo R. Duterte, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Friday night.
"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," Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said in a statement.
Cayetano made the statement after the UN official suggested that President Duterte “needs to submit himself to some sort of psychiatric examination”.
He said there is no reason whatsoever for such outburst directed against the President.
“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," Cayetano said.
In a news conference, Zeid also referred to a pending case against UN special rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, over her alleged links to the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People's Army (CPP-NPA).
Zeid said Tauli-Corpuz believes the case was due to her comments against the alleged killings of indigenous people in southern Mindanao where Duterte declared martial law to quell threats of terrorism after the Marawi siege ended.
Cayetano said the High Commissioner made the statement without first ascertaining the facts surrounding the inclusion of Tauli-Corpuz 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," he pointed out.
"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," he added.
Cayetano noted the action is in accordance with Republic Act No. 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," he said.
If indeed Tauli-Corpuz and the others named in the petition are innocent, Cayetano said 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 foreign affairs chief said.
Cayetano said "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." (PNA)