MANILA (Mabuhay) – Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte’s remarks against alleged rice smuggler Davidson Bangayan has “undermined” a government institution and should be removed from official Senate records, Commission on Human Rights (CHR) chairwoman Etta Rosales said Wednesday.
In a phone interview, Rosales said she will write Senate President Franklin Drilon to express her concern over Duterte’s statements during last Monday’s Senate agriculture committee’s probe on rice smuggling.
“He [Duterte] violated the integrity of a government institution, which is the Senate. Igalang naman sana ang Senado. Nasa Senado siya and he can’t just make a statement on an apparently unlawful act,” Rosales said.
During the Senate hearing, Duterte said he “will gladly kill” Bangayan if the controversial trader is caught smuggling in his city.
In a separate interview, Drilon, however, described Duterte’s remarks as “colorful language” and should not be considered as a “serious threat.”
“Alam mo siguro isang bravado ‘yan para kay Mayor Duterte, in his colorful language in order to highlight and emphasize na talaga pong ayaw niyang gamitin ang kanyang lungsod na isang venue na kung saan magpatuloy ang pag-smuggle ng ating mga bigas,” Drilon said.
Rosales, for her part, said Duterte’s remarks did not sound like a “figurative speech” to the general public.
“Do you think the police on the ground, who are trigger-happy, will say, oh, that is just a figurative speech?” she asked.
Duterte, who is reputed to rule with an iron hand, had also earlier threatened to kill David Tan – believed to be the alias of Bangayan – if ever the latter sets foot in Davao City.
“I want smuggling of rice in my city stopped. But if you still do not stop your smuggling activities, I will kill you,” Duterte was quoted as saying in a press conference in the city last Jan. 7.
This has prompted the Commission on Human Rights to warn Duterte against making such public threats.
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima had earlier said she found Duterte’s remarks “disturbing.” (MNS)