Duterte mistakenly thought a foreign rights advocate was a prosecutor invited by Robredo to aid in drug war

November 20, 2019 - 1:13 PM
Vice President Leni Robredo and President Rodrigo Duterte
Vice President Leni Robredo and President Rodrigo Duterte from lenirobredo.com

Outraged over a tweet of a critic of his drug war, President Rodrigo Duterte falsely identified Phelim Kine, a human rights advocate, as a prosecutor whom anti-drug czar Leni Robredo invited to help with her new job.

When reporters asked about him, Robredo said that she had not received a formal invitation from him or sent an invite to him. She said all those who offer help to solve the drug problem are welcome.

Kine, a former head of the Human Rights Watch, expressed such willingness to help Robredo in a tweet on November 11.

His first recommendation was: “Arrest Duterte and his henchmen for inciting and instigating mass murder.”

When the president learned of it, Duterte got furious and lashed out against him and Robredo.

He, however, identified him as a prosecutor even when he’s job is related to consultation and research.

What angered him was his perception that critics are not giving a chance to air his side.

Part of his rant went:

“Yang prosecutor and the tweet. Nakita ko ‘yung tweet eh. ‘I am packed and ready to go and arrest Duterte.’ ‘Yan ang imbitahin mo? Ganun ang salita sa akin. P****** i**, Leni, sa harap mo sampalin ko ‘yan. Dalhin mo dito.”

Kine, now a deputy director of Physicians for Human Rights, had been part of the HRW, an international non-government organization that advocates human rights, for 11 years.

His job back then involved research and advocacy in different countries in Asia such as Afghanistan, China, Indonesia and the Philippines.

He’s vocal on his Twitter account on his views on human rights violations, including Duterte’s anti-drug operations that killed thousands of Filipinos particularly in the urban poor.

Aside from Duterte, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. also said that he will bar Kine from entering the country.

Locsin called him Robredo’s “retarded retinue” when he retweeted another user’s negative comment on the foreign activist.

“Don’t worry; he can’t get into the country. We have to spare Leni the moral moronism of those who use her,” he said.

Meeting with foreign help

Following her appointment as the co-chair of the Inter-agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD), Robredo had been busy meeting with representatives from the international community who are willing to cooperate on the fight against illegal drugs.

Early this November, she met officials of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime who discussed with her what strategies other countries employ for their counternarcotics campaigns.

In November 13, Robredo met with some representatives of the US Embassy and officers from the US Federal Bureau of Investigation, Drug Enforcement Agency, Department of State and US Agency for International Development (USAID) and talked about ways on how the two countries can help one other.

They also tackled on possibly amending the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act, Robredo said on Facebook, among other suggestions.

“Ipinahiwatig nila ang kanilang buong suporta at kooperasyon sa ating kampanya laban sa iligal na droga. At, bilang kaibigan ng Pilipinas, gagawin nila ang lahat para tayo ay magtagumpay sa laban na ito,” she said.

[A] Pahayag ni Pangalawang Pangulo Leni Robredo tungkol sa kaniyang pulong sa mga kinatawan ng US Embassy Ngayong…

Posted by VP Leni Robredo on Tuesday, November 12, 2019

It can be recalled that Duterte offered the anti-drug czar post out of ire for Robredo’s consistent criticisms against his anti-drug operations.

ICAD, which Robredo was assigned to co-chair, also does not have a specific provision for a such a position.

According to Executive Order 15, ICAD is an agency under the PDEA tasked to implement the campaign against illegal drugs through policies, laws and issuances.