Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte says that UN human rights workers should be fed to crocodiles after the UN High Commission leader Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said the president "needs to submit himself to some sort of psychiatric examination."
"If these fools come here, are there crocodiles here? The ones that eat people? Throw those sons of b****** to them," the president said to soldiers in Zamboanga City over the weekend.
Duterte is under preliminary investigation by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for ordering the police killing of at least 4,000 civilians in less than two years during his supposed "war on drugs." The Independent reports that 2,290 people have been murdered in drug-related crimes and thousands of other unsolved deaths remain shrouded by impunity.
The president gave permission to the police to ignore the human rights investigators and remain silent should the international rapporteur question their policing tactics.
"If you answer their questions, ... it is recorded. If you are called there, you are bound by whatever you say. So the best way is to just keep silent. Just tell them: 'We have a Commander-in-Chief.' Haven’t I told you? I take full responsibility," Duterte said.
"You know, they say they are investigating us. My God, you fools! If you are investigating us, the rule in criminal law is, any statement or answer that you give may incriminate you," the President said.
Several days ago the president ordered a UN investigator be listed as a terrorist. Al Hussein says the Philippine government “has a duty to uphold human rights and to engage with persons appointed” as a member of the UN Human Rights Council and a signatory to several treaties.
Duterte went on to tell the Filipino police forces, "(These human rights groups) got angry because the advice is ‘do not answer questions from them’ and that is for a reason – legal. That is provided for in the Constitution itself," the President said.
He added, "They will see many loopholes, but if you shut up, just say: ‘Duterte ordered it. Destroy the organization.’ What’s wrong with that? Can I not protect my country by killing people and destroying apparatus?"
The president promised he would continue his form of narcotics crackdown until he leaves office.
The ICC investigation was prompted not just by the security force killings ordered during Duterte’s presidency, but the over 1,400 deaths he allegedly ordered while mayor of Davao City for 23 years.