MANILA, Philippines – Amid criticism of his drug war from human rights groups, President Rodrigo Duterte said he might just order police to shoot them so they would know what real human rights violations are like.
"Sabihin mo, 'Pulis, barilin mo na 'yang kasali diyan' (Tell them, 'Police, shoot those who are part of it'). If they are obstructing justice, you shoot them," said Duterte on Wednesday, August 16.
"Para makita talaga kung anong klaseng human right (So they can really see the kinds of human rights)," he added. (READ: Human rights in Duterte's 1st year: Where do we go from here?)
Duterte expressed frustration that human rights groups are quick to condemn him but supposedly do not condemn perpetrators of heinous crimes.
He mentioned the killing and rape of a one-year-old.
"Where was the human rights? They could not even utter it in public. 'Look, do not do that to me,' says human rights groups. Nothing. Then when it comes to criminals, you will proclaim, 'human rights violations,'" said Duterte.
He also warned he would respond to investigations by human rights groups into his controversial drug war with a probe of his own. (READ: 'Demonizing' human rights in the first year of Duterte)
"Tapos 'yung human rights [groups] ngayon is investigating. One of these days, kayong human rights [groups], kayo ang imbestigahin ko. Totoo. Conspiracy," the President said.
(The human rights groups are now investigating. One of these days, you human rights groups, I will also investigate you. That's the truth. For conspiracy.)
His audience of Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) members applauded these remarks. (READ: Hate human rights? They protect freedoms you enjoy)
Duterte also had only insults for Commission on Human Rights (CHR) Chairperson Chito Gascon. Gascon, who has been critical of Duterte's threats to kill, was described by the President as "ulol na mestizo" (fair-skinned fool).
Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.