Filipinos have deeper view on Duterte - Andanar
The Filipinos have deeper understanding of President Rodrigo Duterte than focusing on his usual expletives, Malacanang said on Sunday.
In an interview over a state-run radio station dzRB Radyo ng Bayan, Presidential Communications Office Secretary Martin Andanar said that despite Duterte's foul mouth, the Filipinos still voted for him to be the country's president.
"So we are not hiding anything and we did not pretend. When our President was still running (for office), he's been metioning 'PI' in the sorties. And despite that, he won the presidency," he said.
Duterte received over 16 million votes, about 6 million margin, from his closest rival, then Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas during the May elections.
"It means that the Filipinos have deeper view on the President," Andanar said.
Even if he was already elected as president, Duterte has continued to say bad words, including against foreign officials and governments, and international organizations.
Duterte's expletives against United States President Barack Obama prompted the latter to cancel their supposed first bilateral meeting at the sidelines of a regional summit in Laos early this month.
He also slammed the United Nations, including Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, and just recently, he also said bad words against the European Union.
The President had become irked over the foreign officials and groups after they raised concern on his administration's all-out war against illegal drugs, resulting to the death of more than 3,000 drug suspects.
Despite Duterte's expletives, Andanar noted the President's invitation for the UN and EU to send representatives to look into the alleged extrajudicial killings in the country.
"And this only shows that our President is open to the international organizations to look into the record of extrajudicial killings and human rights," he said.
Contrary to reports that the government has laid down certain restrictions for the international probers, Andanar said what Duterte has mentioned was that he should also be given the chance to ask questions to the rapporteurs who could be sent by UN.
"I don't think that is asking for the moon and stars," he said.
Senator Leila de Lima, a known critic of Duterte, meanwhile, questioned the reported parameters that the administration, through the Department of Foreign Affairs, would be setting for the UN rapporteurs.
"I find questionable the announced rule that it is the government that will decide the places to be visited and the persons to be interviewed by these probers," she said in a statement.
"What kind of investigation can we expect if the government is going to decide how the investigation is going to be conducted by UN rapporteur's team? What is the sense of inviting independent probers if they are not going to be allowed freedom of movement and action, and are going to be dictated upon on the extent of their visits and sources of information," she said.
Under any standard, an investigation under such constraints can no longer be deemed independent, De Lima said.
She added, "protocol does not mean censorship and control over the ability of the UN team to conduct an independent, credible and exhaustive probe." Celerina D. Monte/DMS