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Philippines' Human Rights Commissioner warns of Duterte's threat to democracy
Thursday 15 December 2016 12:12

In an interview for  Esquire magazine, the Philippines Human Rights Commissioner and LI Human Rights Committee Member, Chito Gacon, has warned that firebrand president, Rodrigo Duterte, is the biggest danger to the Phillipines' democracy since the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos.

 

 

Threatening the liberal-democratic legacy President Benigno Aquino, Mr. Gascon said: "We have not seen this unprecedented level of violations of civil and political rights. Every single administration since the transition to democracy has had its own share of human rights issues for which they were held accountable for but there is something different with Duterte. By ordering police to kill drugs' dealers and users and by promising to defend them against critics, the president has enabled the impunity we now see" he said.

Comparing the effects of these negative developments to ripples being created by throwing pebbles into a pond he further explained that human rights in the country are "being washed away by these ripples" and human rights advocates are being demonised and turned into the state's biggest enemy. “In the end, the public wanted change. And here we are, change has happened. It may not be the change you or I want, but that’s where we are” he concluded.

The Philippines Human Rights Commission does not have the capacity to prosecute or send anyone to jail but rather provide recommendations to the relevant authorities who can do so in cases of human rights violations.However, only 30% of its recommendations are ever considered.In fact, with a staff of barely 600, the Commission must already ook into the over 3,500 deaths associated with Duterte’s war on drugs sicne he came to power. 

In a string of controversies, Duterte recently re-buried tMarcos at the Heroes Cemetery: a move strongly condemned at the time by Vice-President of the Republic Leni Robredo (Liberal Party of the Philippines, LI full-member).

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