Not funny: CHR calls out Duterte over extrajudicial killings remark

MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) on Friday, September 28, called out President Rodrigo Duterte for "toying" with the sanctity of life when he remarked in a public event that his only "sin" was extrajudicial killings.

CHR Spokesperson Jacqueline Ann de Guia made the statement after Palace officials sought to clarify that Duterte’s supposed admission to the killings should not be taken seriously.

"Sagrado ang buhay. Hindi ito dapat pinaglalaruan. Hindi rin tama na gawing paksa ng biro ang pagkamatay ng libu-libong Pilipino na patuloy na humihingi ng hustisya (Life is sacred. It should not be toyed with. The deaths of thousands of Filipinos who continue to seek justice is no joking matter)," De Guia said.

On Thursday, September 27, Duterte said in his speech before new and veteran civil servants in Malacañang that he never stole a single peso from the people and that his "only sin is extrajudicial killings."

Duterte faces a complaint before the International Criminal Court over extrajudicial killings in his drug war.

The following day, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque explained that the Chief Executive was just being "playful" when he made the statement, and did so only to highlight that he was not corrupt.

Duterte is known for making conflicting statements about his involvement in death squads and summary killings, both in Davao City where he was mayor for two decades and in nationwide crackdowns on drug suspects.

The CHR said it continues to investigate each EJK case in the Duterte administration’s campaign against illegal drugs.

De Guia also reminded police of their duty to hold accountable erring law enforcers. –