Duterte mulls abolition of CHR

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte is mulling to abolish Commission on Human Rights (CHR), following its supposed interference in the actions of government security forces in the conflict-torn Mindanao.

In a press conference after his second State of the Nation Address on Monday, Duterte slammed the CHR, saying the army and police forces were merely implementing military rule in conflict-torn Mindanao "in good faith."

The President also insisted that there were no violations of human rights committed by security forces since he declared martial law on May 23 in the southern Philippines.

"Let me [say] something about martial law. The army, the military, the armed forces and the police are there in good faith. They are there to arrest, they are there to kill, they are to stop the rebellion, okay?” Duterte said.

"Now, in pursuit or in the prosecution of those duties or mandate, they have to control civilians, they have to force them out of the house, they have to bar them from entering places," he added.

The CHR, whose mandate is to protect the citizens' rights from abuses by the state, has not recorded any violations committed since Duterte placed Mindanao under military rule last May 23.

Despite this, the commission assured the public that it is monitoring reports of censorship threats and instances of warrantless arrest, following the declaration of martial law in Mindanao.

Duterte was prompted to declare martial law because Marawi City, the capital of Lanao del Sur, is under siege by Maute terrorist group.

He said that he would not allow any security personnel to be under investigation by the CHR as he was the one who implemented the martial law declaration.

"I will lecture you, CHR. You are weak. Those [military and police forces’ actions] are not violations of human rights. When they are forced by the military to stay on the side, it is because it is for their own good. If the military will decide not to allow you to enter your house, [it’s] because you will be hit," Duterte said.

"When the time comes, the CHR, its office here, you are better abolished. I will not allow my men to go there to be investigated. Remember this Human Rights Commission, you address your request through me because the armed forces is under me and the police is under me. So if you question them for investigation, you have to go to me first," he added. (SunStar Philippines)
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