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Atom Araullo slams Pres. Rodrigo Duterte’s recent statement on human rights with ‘whiplash-inducing headlines’

Do people still believe Duterte’s statements on human rights? One journalist doesn’t. Maybe you shouldn’t, too.

President Rodrigo Duterte and the words “human rights” feel like oil and water, even after Duterte claimed that the country will honor its treaty obligations.

In a three-word tweet, journalist Atom Araullo slammed Duterte’s statement that it will honor its human rights treaty obligations with four of what he called “whiplash-inducing headlines.”

He posted photos of headlines both from GMA News and The New York Times showing the irony in the President’s statement.

The taped statement was issued during the 2020 Human Rights Summit hosted by the Department of Justice on December 7, 2020. In the statement, Duterte also assured people that human rights will be “protected and promoted” despite him saying he did not care about it early in his term.

Araullo’s tweet contained articles from as early as 2016 when the President called former Jordanian diplomat and United Nations (UN) High Commissioner for Human Rights Prince Zeid bin Ra’ad an idiot. This was after Ra’ad called on local authorities to investigate Duterte’s opening salvo on his war on drugs.

“The United Nations human rights (chief) said Duterte should be charged for murder. This guy is either a joker or medyo sira ang ulo (a little crazy),” Duterte said back in December 2016.

More recent headlines include Duterte’s scathing rant against human rights advocates for criticizing his administration’s ongoing war on drugs. He even went as far as asking them to “find a new job” because advocates kept bringing up how many people have died in his drug campaign.

He also paraded and defended the controversial Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 at the UN General Assembly in September 2020.

In his speech, he said the Anti-Terrorism Act “shores up the legal framework by focusing on both terrorism and the usual reckless response to it.” He also called human rights advocates as critics whose job was to simply discredit his administration.

“These detractors… prey on the most vulnerable humans, even using children as soldiers or human shields in encounters,” Duterte said in September, referring to progressive groups his administration continues to tag as recruiters of the Communist Party of the Philippines’ armed wing, the New People’s Army.

It is these statements that Araullo no doubt found ironic and whiplash-inducing.

Netizens have called out Duterte for his taped message, saying it was nothing more than lip service.

Others lauded Araullo for posting “receipts” to disprove the administration’s claim that it will honor its human rights obligations.

Araullo’s tweet has since gone viral, with over 1,500 retweets and 5,271 likes as of this writing.

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