MANILA, Philippines – If officials from the United Nations, United States, and European Union accept President Rodrigo Duterte's invitation to investigate drug killings in the Philippines, they should be ready to answer his humiliating questions.
He gave this warning during a speech at a business convention on Thursday, October 13.
"I've been a trial lawyer for many years, paikutin talaga kita (I will make you go round and round) in public. I will ask 5 questions that will humiliate you," he said with glee. (READ: The 100-day word war: How Duterte handles criticism)
"And I will ask you 10 questions for you to agree with me," Duterte added.
He said the open forum during which he would subject foreign officials to his grilling would be "entertainment."
"Bantayan 'nyo 'yan (You wait for it), you watch it all. Maganda 'yan (It will be good). It will give you an entertainment," said the President.
Duterte seemed confident he can outsmart the foreign officials or prove them wrong.
"I will play with you. I am very sure they cannot be brighter than me," he said.
He then cautioned them against underestimating the Philippines.
"Akala kasi ng mga buang na 'yan (Those fools think) we're a small nation when maybe God gave you the money, but we have the brains," he said.
Duterte had previously verbally invited US President Barack Obama and officials from the UN and EU to come to the Philippines to investigate extrajudicial killings linked to his drug war.
In his Thursday speech, he included Secretary of State John Kerry, and said he has already written letters of invitation.
"That prompted me to write letters. I invited President Obama, the Secretary of State, the EU, the United Nations, the Human Rights Commission. Come here, investigate me," he said.
So far, a letter to UN rapporteur on summary executions Agnes Callamard has been released by Malacañang. Callamard, however, said she has yet to receive it.
Upon hearing about the release of the letter, Callamard told Rappler she welcomes the invitation but seeks "freedom of inquiry" and "non-retaliation" from the Philippine government.
In the invitation, the Palace said Duterte's right to "due process" means he should be allowed to pose questions to Callamard. It told Callamard she would be asked to swear under oath before responding to ensure she tells "nothing but the truth." – Rappler.com
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.