Philippines: Problem for President Duterte on Human Rights? Ombudsman Says, “The directive to kill people under any situation, irrespective of the context is not acceptable.”

In this Sept. 6, 2016 photo, police inspect one of two unidentified drug suspects after being shot by police as they tried to evade a checkpoint in Quezon city, north of Manila, Philippines. Bodies had begun turning up in cities all over the Philippines ever since President Rodrigo Duterte launched a controversial war on drugs this year. Drug dealers and drug addicts, were being shot by police or slain by unidentified gunmen in mysterious, gangland-style murders that were taking place at night. AP/Aaron Favila
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MANILA, Philippines — After maintaining a neutral stance for a year of the current administration, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales, for the first time, has spoken against President Rodrigo Duterte’s approach on criminality, saying that his directive to kill criminals is “not acceptable” under any circumstance.

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“The directive to kill people under any situation, irrespective of the context, to me, that’s not acceptable,” Morales said in a television interview with Japan’s NHK World aired on Thursday evening (Manila time).
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Morales said Duterte is “goading people to kill people” with his repeated statements that policemen and even ordinary citizens have his blessing to arm themselves and kill criminals who resist arrest and who put public lives in danger.
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“He’s goading people to kill people. That’s a problem. His communications people say ‘that’s hyperbole,’” Morales said.
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“You know, they try to rationalize whatever he says. So, whether or not the police or whoever he addresses these words believe him, that’s a different story,” she added.
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Ombudsman breaks silence

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Morales’ statement was a departure from her earlier position that there is nothing wrong with Duterte’s threat to kill criminals unless the latter acted on his threats.
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“It’s not illegal to say: ‘I will kill you’… But whether he makes good of that intention, again, it’s a different story,” Morales said in a forum last year.
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Morales, for about a year, had been silent on the rising number of summary killings in connection with the administration’s war on drugs.
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Just last Wednesday at the anniversary celebration of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, Duterte reiterated his directive to security forces to shoot criminals who fight back during the arrest.
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Duterte even said, apparently in jest, that security forces should make the criminals fight back to justify the resort to violence.
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He further boasted that he is the only president who had been able to order the killing of “those s*** of b******,” referring to criminals especially drug traders.
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In her interview with NHK World, Morales said her office will be consolidating various complaints on extrajudicial killings in connection with the Duterte administration’s war on drugs before conducting a fact-finding investigation.
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Morales said the fact-finding investigation might have a bearing on the drug-related complaints against Sen. Leila De Lima pending before the ombudsman.
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De Lima, a staunch critic of Duterte, is detained since February for cases before the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court in connection with her alleged involvement in the illegal drug trade at the New Bilibid Prison.
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“In our case, there had been some complaints which have a bearing on extrajudicial killings, which have a bearing on drugs especially the complaints against the detained senator. So we try to consolidate all these complaints and conduct a fact-finding investigation,” Morales said.
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Ties with Duterte

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Morales had earlier stated that she would inhibit from any investigation concerning Duterte and his war on drugs as she and the latter are related by marriage.
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Morales is the aunt-in-law of Duterte’s daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte. Sara’s husband, Mans Carpio, is the son of Morales’ brother Lucas Carpio Jr. and Court of Appeals Justice Agnes Reyes Carpio.
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Morales, a retired Supreme Court associate justice, was appointed by then President Benigno Aquino III in 2011. Her seven-year term as ombudsman is set to end in July 2018.
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