‘Go to hell,’ Duterte tells UN rapporteur

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte again had some strong words for another United Nations human rights expert who warned that the country’s judicial independence is under threat.

In a news conference late Saturday night, Duterte told Diego Garcia-Sayan, UN’s special rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, to “go to hell.”

“[Sayan] is not a special person. And I do not recognize his rapporteur title. Tell him not to interfere with the affairs of my country. He can go to hell,” the President said.

“Son of a bitch, he is meddling. That’s an internal problem of the country. You should not meddle with it. You know why I exploded,” Duterte added.

In the same news conference, he said he was angered by Maria Lourdes Sereno’s continuing accusation that he was behind her ouster as Chief Justice.

In his statement on Friday, Sayan said the numerous derogatory tirades of Duterte against Sereno are attacks on the judiciary.

“The derogatory statements and threats by President Duterte, which have been televised, broadcast on radio and carried by newspapers, constitute a vicious attack on the independence of the judiciary,” he added.

“Not only do they constitute direct intimidation of the Chief Justice, they also appear to have had a ‘chilling effect’ on other Supreme Court justices, who may have been deterred from asserting their judicial independence and exercising their freedom of expression,” Sayan said.

In April, Duterte called Sereno “his enemy” after she claimed that the President was behind her predicament.

The President had called on the House of Representatives, which was drafting the articles of impeachment against the Chief Justice, to fast-track the process.

Duterte bared that Calida filed the quo warranto petition against Sereno because “he is hurt” over Sereno’s vote to deny the burial of former strongman Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (Heroes’ Cemetery) on November 2016.

“You know, Calida, he [filed the quo warranto petition]as an Ilocano. He is a lawyer. He pushed for [Marcos] to be buried there,” he said.

Marcos hailed from Ilocos Norte.

“Me, I was just following the law. [Marcos is] a soldier and a President. And they were criticizing me left and right. I told them, ‘But that’s the law. What can I do?” Duterte said.

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