‘Go to hell,’ Duterte tells UN official over judicial criticism
Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has once again outraged his critics after telling a UN human rights expert “to go to hell” over claims that the leader was involved in the ousting of a Supreme Court judge.
UN official Diego Garcia-Sayan criticized Duterte after the president labelled Maria Lourdes Sereno, the Philippines chief justice, his “enemy” over her refusal to vote for a number of his government’s proposals. Sereno was later removed from office by majority vote in the Supreme Court. Speaking on Friday, Garcia-Sayan said the president’s actions sent a “clear message to all judges of the Philippines: In the so-called 'war on drugs,' you're either with me or against me.”
In a televised address to reporters in the capital Manila on Sunday, Duterte dismissed the remarks, saying the human rights expert should not meddle in the country’s domestic affairs. “Tell him (Garcia-Sayan) not to interfere with the affairs of my country. He can go to hell,” he said. “He is not a special person and I do not recognize his rapporteur title.”
The controversial leader, who came to power on the back of his promise to eradicate his country’s illegal drug trade, is infamous for making fiery statements at UN officials. In April, he labelled UN Human Rights Commissioner Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein a “son of a whore” after he claimed the Filipino strongman was in need of “psychiatric evaluation.”
Later that same month, Duterte threatened to arrest a prosecutor with the International Criminal Court, arguing that she had no right to conduct investigations in the country. The prosecutor had been looking into allegations of crimes against humanity as the Philippines continues to wage its bloody war on drugs.
Police say they have killed over 4,100 people in anti-drug operations since July 2016. However, human rights groups allege the number is at least three times higher.
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