UN rights chief should respect Duterte, being the head of state, says Palace

Images from Oromiya First/ KDN Files
  • Malacañang Palace objected to the remarks made by the UN rights chief against Duterte
  • Roque said Duterte, being the head of state, should be accorded respect
  • Accordingly, there’s a “world of difference” between a UN official using crude language and a president of the country doing the same thing

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang Palace on Monday said President Rodrigo Duterte still deserve respect even if the latter himself is using unconventional terms in describing his critics.

Responding to a question from a reporter, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the statement made by United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein is being treated as a “diplomatic affront” and is “wholly unacceptable”.

Roque was referring to Zeid’s remark last week wherein he was quoted as saying Duterte must submit himself to ‘some sort of psychiatric examination’.

When asked why suddenly the language becomes important for an administration that tolerates similar, if not  more controversial remarks by President Duterte, Roque explained that in the UN system,  sovereignty is important and sovereign heads are still respected.

Roque is then reminded that Duterte himself once called former US President Barack Obama a “son of a b*tch”. However the Palace official reasoned out it was a different case, especially that Zeid is not even the UN secretary general.

“He is serving as UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, which is still an international organization, composed of states and heads of states are not accorded that kind of a language,” said Roque.

Pressed to explain the difference between a UN official and President of a country, Roque replied: “Well, because the UN officials should, as a matter of course, respect sitting heads of state, because after all the UN is composed of international organization and is composed of sovereign state. And the sovereign states of course are represented by their respective leaders.”

The Palace official further argued that “there’s a world of difference between a UN official using crude language against a sitting head of state and the President using any kind of language that he wants on a private individual.”

Despite this, however, Roque assured Mr. Zeid’s tirade will not be used as an excuse or a reason to stop a UN rapporteur from coming to the country to investigate.