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16 Sep, 2017 22:22

‘Are you a pedophile?’ Duterte blasts Human Rights Chief ‘fixated’ on teenage victims of drug war

‘Are you a pedophile?’ Duterte blasts Human Rights Chief ‘fixated’ on teenage victims of drug war

Are you a pedophile? This is how Philippines president launched his latest tirade against the country's human rights commission chief, as Chito Gascon seemed to be only concerned about the teenage victims in the nation's ongoing war on drugs, Rodrigo Duterte believes.

Duterte posed the question to Commission on Human Rights (CHR) Chairman Gascon while speaking in his home city of Davao on Saturday.

“This Gascon he is like a pedophile, son of a b***h. Why are you so fond of teenagers?” the Philippines president said. He then went on to question Gascon’s motives in a rambling onslaught.

“I now have my doubts. Are you gay or a pedophile? Why is this guy suffocated about the issue of young people, especially boys? Are you a pedophile? Do you want the young? You almost cry blood. Of course it’s repugnant. You are so fixated with young males. So I have doubts if you are a pedophile, you are stupid, idiot,” local media Philstar reports Duterte as saying.

Duterte has repeatedly clashed with the agency over his war on drugs policy which has to date claimed more than 7,000 lives, including those of several dozen teenagers.

Duterte then went on to criticize Gascon of not being concerned with other issues afflicting the Philippines, accusing him of serving as a pawn of the Liberal Party and other critics who want him out of the office.

“Every day in Marawi, there are terrorists raping women but you are not saying anything. Always teenager. Teenager, son of a b***h, it is all politics. Can’t you move to other issues that are besetting this country?” he added.

Duterte’s remarks came as his allies in the lower house of congress slashed the CHR’s budget for 2018. The commission had requested 1.72 billion pesos ($335119,47) for the upcoming year but the government allocated a measly sum of just 1,000 pesos ($20) for the CHR, effectively shutting down the commission.

Critics and opposition figures have suggested the move was retaliation for the commission's investigation into the thousands of killings during the drug war over the past 15 months. Following the decision, a group of human rights lawyers, known as Artikulo 3, said they are planning to open a bank account to raise funds for CHR.

“We are thankful for the numerous queries and pledges received by Artikulo 3 from groups and individuals interested in donating to CHR. One individual even pledged a personal donation of P100,000 for the agency,” the group’s president Hilda Clave said.  

The president’s drug war is estimated to have killed thousands of people, drawing harsh criticism from rights groups. International NGOs including Human Rights Watch cited a total figure of more than 7,000 dead, while Amnesty International called Duterte “a human rights nightmare.”