United Nations rights chief scored for remarks vs Duterte

But Carlos Conde, Philippines researcher with the New York-based Human Rights Watch, said the petition was "a virtual hit list".

He told reporters: "These attacks can not go unanswered".

The Philippine foreign minister hit back on Saturday at the United Nations' human rights chief for issuing "irresponsible and disrespectful" comments about President Rodrigo Duterte, warning such remarks could set a risky precedent.

"These attacks can not go unanswered, the UN Human Rights Council must take a position", Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein said, after Duterte's government sought to get a UN investigator, a former Philippine lawmaker and four former Catholic priests declared as "terrorists".

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque, in a press briefing in Alimodian, Iloilo, acknowledged that the recommendation to classify Corpuz as terrorist because of alleged links to local communists prompted Zeid's harsh language which he referred to as ad hominem and an affront to sovereignty.

"The accusation against her comes after the public comments made, jointly with other special rapporteurs, in relation to the militarisation, attacks and killings of indigenous Lumad peoples by members of the armed forces in Mindanao; this accusation is considered as an act of retaliation for such comments", the experts said. "This is absolutely disgraceful that the president of a country could speak in this way, using the foulest of language against a rapporteur that is highly respected". Jordan's leader is not elected unlike our president.

"And I would hope that although you do not have the same democratic system in your home country of Jordan, you will respect the kind of democracy that we have in the Philippines".

The human rights group Karapatan named roughly a dozen other human rights advocates who were on the list, and Karapatan General Secretary Cristina E. Palabay said that the list was "severely defective as it contains scores of aliases (aka), John and Jane Does so any person can be added later".

"Don't f**k with me, girls", Duterte warned Callamard and International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, who recently announced a preliminary investigation into Duterte for crimes against humanity.

Malacañang also on Saturday maintained that the inclusion of a United Nations special rapporteur in the Justice department's list of alleged terrorists has basis.

Meanwhile, Roqueassured that the petition seeking to tag Corpuz and some 600 Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army (CPP-NPA) members as terrorists is not a witch hunt on United Nations rapporteurs.

"To begin with, the CPP-NPA had already been declared a terrorist group by the US State Department and by the European Union".

"The DOJ would have not filed a petition without evidence that she is a member of, or somehow affiliated with the CPP-NPA", he added.

"Human rights, human rights, son of a bitch, human rights", Duterte said angrily in a mix of Filipino and English.

"We will accord Victoria Tauili Corpuz the right to be heard, her inherent due process rights".

A palace official said Tauli-Corpuz can dispute the "terrorist" tag before a court.

The petition will allow government to monitor listed "terrorists" more closely, track finances and curb access to resources, among other measures.

  • Jon Douglas