- Presidential spokesperson twitted HR group for saying president has a “toxic agenda”
- He said majority of Filipinos happy with president’s handling of country’s issues
- He likened Duterte to a “datu” who looks out for the Filipino people’s common good
MANILA, Philippines – Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella threw shade at Amnesty International’s criticism of President Rodrigo Duterte’s human rights track record; saying he still enjoys the overwhelming trust of the Filipino people.
“The President received an overwhelming mandate last election; and presently, more than 8 out of 10 Filipinos trust and are satisfied with the administration’s campaign against illegal drugs, and its handling of criminality, according to recent surveys,” ABS-CBN quoted him as saying.
AI Philippines chief Jose Noel Olano accused Duterte of having a “toxic agenda” to galvanize his power base through the use of hateful rhetoric.
“President Duterte was included in the group of heads of state which Amnesty International is calling out because of their rhetoric, their toxic agenda that dehumanizes and turns a group of people into scapegoats,” he said.
However, Abella said the international rights group overlooks the majority of Filipinos who feel Duterte is doing a good job.
“The organization is apparently ignoring the safety of the majority of Filipinos who appreciate the drop in crime against persons and property, the absence of addicts and open drug trade on the streets, the drop in graft and corruption, and the peace talks with rebels,” he said.
Abella added that Duterte cannot be judged as per the western standards as he is a “datu” who cares for the common welfare of his people.
“The more refined so-called sensibilities of western liberals are not exactly the language of a Malay, a Malay leader who’s basically just a Datu, you know, who’s just looking after the common good,” he said.