The controversial president of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, has told his military that his foreign critics will make great ‘live human targets’ for home troops, as only his countrymen have the right to question his policies.
Duterte, who has two complaints filed against him at the International Criminal Court (ICC) over his brutal war on drugs, attacked his opponents abroad as he addressed the military in the central city of Capas on Friday.
“If I fell short, then as a Filipino, that is your right to criticize and even slam me if you want. I would never, never [hold] it against you,” the President said, as cited by GMA website.
But his foreign critics should keep their mouth shut, he warned, promising a grim fate to the investigators and human rights activists who would come to the Philippines to look into accusations against him.
“Someday when you’re out of targets… as well as live human target, I can just bring [the foreign critics] to you,” Duterte told the troops.
Back in March, the Philippines’ leader already promised to feed international investigators to crocodiles if they dare arrive in the country.
After taking office two years ago, Duterte launched a massive war on drugs, with Human Rights Watch claiming that more than 12,000 have been killed by police or “unidentified gunmen” since then.
The Philippine leader has denied all accusations, saying that his law enforcers only used force in self-defense.
In February, the ICC started a preliminary examination of claims against Duterte; he responded by unilaterally withdrawing the Philippines from the court in March.
He argued that the ICC gave up on the ‘presumption of innocence’ principle and only wanted to portray him as a “ruthless and heartless violator of human rights”.
Later, the president went even further, by saying that the Philippines never formally acceded to the Rome Statute, as its text wasn’t published in the country’s official gazette. He vowed to persuade other counties to also quit the ICC.
Duterte also instructed the Filipino police to ignore the investigators if they come, and threatened ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda with arrest.
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