Marcoses offer to return part of loot

MANILA – The Marcos family has offered to return “part” of their estimated $10 billion in ill-gotten wealth.
So said President Rodrigo Duterte in Malacanang on Tuesday, Aug. 29.
According to the chief executive, a spokesman for the family of the late dictator had told him that they were willing to return a portion of their unexplained wealth, including a few gold bars.
Mr. Duterte said the gold bars would not be as massive as the US deposits in Fort Knox.
In a statement to media on Wednesday, Aug.30, Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman said that a confirmatory statement must come from the Marcos family. "There is need for a categorical statement from the Marcos heirs confirming President Duterte's report that the Marcoses are willing to surrender a part of the Marcos' ill-gotten hoard,” said Lagman.
Lagman said the statement must include specifications as to the denominations of the amounts and identification of items to be returned.
Mr. Duterte said he wants a retired chief justice and two other government representatives to handle the negotiations with the Marcos family.
The Marcoses had stated that the gold in their possession was only for safekeeping for and in behalf of the Philippine government. In the event that then President Ferdinand Marcos was removed from office, he had ordered the removal of the country’s gold reserves so that it would not fall into the wrong hands.
“I will accept the explanation, whether or not it was true,” Mr. Duterte said.
According to the president, the spokesman for the Marcos family said the return of the unexplained wealth was to help the administration handle its expected deficit spending for the next few years.
Maybe the amount to be surrendered would help, according to the unnamed spokesman.
“I’m happy na we come with a clean... Make something that is really worthwhile for the Filipinos,” the president said.
During his two-decade rule that started in 1965, former President Marcos illegally amassed an estimated $10 billion taken from government coffers. He stashed them away in secret local and offshore accounts, or hid them through dummy foundations as well as cronies.

Following the strongman's ouster in 1986, the government - through the Presidential Commission on Good Government created the same year - went to great lengths to recover these stolen wealth, even engaging in arduous and court battles here and abroad that dragged on for years.
Three decades later, the PCGG got back a considerable chunk of the illegally acquired assets and properties, and even managed to earn revenue for the government.
The Marcos family spokesman did not state what part of the ill-gotten wealth they were willing to return to the government. – With reports from GMA


Discrimination a hurdle for job-seeking Mindanao youth

MANILA – Usman Mohammad, 23, just graduated from Mindanao State University (MSU) in Marawi City this year. His aim of starting his professional life was interrupted by war as the government neutralizes terrorist groups linked to the extremist Islamic State.
Like him, other youth displaced from Marawi City would like to find a job to support their families, espcially that their properties have either been looted or bombed. But being a Muslim jobseeker is difficult because of the stereotypes in the workplace, he said.
“Based from what I observed from my friends who are also graduates of MSU, when they apply for companies in Manila, when they are identified as Muslim, there’s already discrimination, thinking they are terrorists,” he said in Filipino.
Since there’s little large-scale economic activity in their area, their only choice is to go to Manila where majority of career opportunities are available. But because of the discrimination they are facing, they can’t help but think of just going abroad for work.
All he could ask for now is make opportunities equal for Muslims.
“Magkaroon lang ng opportunity na kumbaga ay i-welcome ang youth na galing sa Marawi na nadisplace, mabigyan ng opportunity,” he said.
(Hopefully, there could be opportunities to welcome the youth from Marawi City who were displaced, be given an opportunity.)
Another problem people from the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) experience when it comes to employment is the lack of information and government support in those areas.
Abdul-Ajidz Abdurahman, 24, from Tipo-Tipo in Basilan, said jobseekers in their area do not know when and where there are job vacancies.
“Hindi nila alam saan sila pupunta, sino ang lalapitan, ano iyong mga opportunity kasi 'di kami accessible sa internet connection, sa mga publication,” he said.
(They don’t know where they would go, who to go to, what are the opportunities because we don’t have access to the internet, to publications.)
“Walang mga job fair. Ang mga job fair lang kasi diyan ay sa mga cities pero walang nangyayari doon sa mga municipalities,” he added.
(There are no job fairs because job fairs are only conducted in cities but none for municipalities.)

Equal opportunities
For Francisco Lara Jr, country manager of conflict monitoring group International Alert, limiting workplace discrimination for Muslims is a way of promoting peace in the region.
Lara said “unfairness” is the root of the rebellion in Mindanao
“Injustice is a very big issue but oftentimes, its unfairness. Injustice is like you are not able to get an education after the madrassah and you don’t go up – that’s injustice. But when you have an education, when you’ve done everything that is needed but still can’t find a job, that is unfairness,” he said.
“Oftentimes, that triggers extremism, not poverty,” he added, stressing that the crisis in Marawi City should be solved through creating social and business spaces in the region more than relying on the military.
Working in this framework, International Alert launched on Tuesday, August 29, guidelines for companies to include equality and diversity in their hiring and management policies.
The Red Flag project, done in partnership with the Mindanao Business Council (MinBC), provides a set of practical guidelines against the discrimination of employees on the basis of their ethnic or religious backgrounds.
Some 40 firms from the banking, finance, service and extractive industries have joined the commitment to uphold the guidelines set by the project.
Nikki dela Rosa, deputy country manager of International Alert, said they will look into giving incentives to companies that will adhere to the standards.
“We are going to develop a tool kit, along with some professors of the Asian Institute of Management, in creating accessible tools for employers in terms of operationalizing the principles,” she said.
But beyond this intervention, the groups urge the government to promote investments in Mindanao, which will ultimately solve the unemployment problem in the region.
“This is just a segment of most of the problems we have on the ground. A lot of the graduates coming in Muslim areas have difficulty [finding] jobs there. They experience discrimination from companies operating outside the ARMM. We believe this is [just a] stop gap,” she said.
“The best way is to pressure government [to come out with the ] proper package to encourage investors there,” she added. –


Malacañang fails to invite Robredo to 2nd Ledac meeting

MANILA – Malacañang failed to invite Vice President Leni Robredo to the second Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (Ledac) meeting held on Tuesday, August 29.
Robredo was not in the list of officials who attended the meeting held on Tuesday night.
Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia, National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) chief, confirmed to Rappler that Robredo was not invited.
NEDA, which is the principal Ledac secretariat, is in charge of setting the agenda for the meetings but Malacañang sends out the invitations to Ledac members and other guests.
Pernia said Malacañang staff had informed him that the Office of the Vice President had been following up with them if Robredo would attend the meeting.
Since his office has no powers to decide on who gets invited, Pernia said he "left it at that" and waited for news from Malacañang if they made a final decision on the matter.
But Monday, August 28, was a busy day for President Rodrigo Duterte who, Pernia said, ultimately decides on who attends the Ledac. He said it was likely that Duterte or his staff simply forgot to invite the Vice President.
"Siguro hindi na (Maybe no more), they were not able to attend to it. I don't know the reason. I don't want to impute anything," the NEDA chief said.
A source from the Robredo camp said they did follow up with Malacañang in the days leading up to the Ledac meeting.
Instead of an invitation, Robredo's office was asked to just submit a "position paper," said the source.
The Vice President is a member of the Ledac. Robredo was invited to the first Ledac meeting last January 30.
Previously, Special Assistant to the President Bong Go had said she was invited to the first meeting as "mandated" by Republic Act 7640, the law that created the Ledac. Under the law, the Vice President is a member of the council.
The Ledac advises the President on programs, policies, and laws necessary to achieving the goals of the administration.
Established during the Ramos administration, the Ledac is a venue for executive and legislative branches to discuss the laws needed for priority programs and targets of the government.
The Ledac is chaired by the President and its members include the Vice President, Senate President, House Speaker, 7 Cabinet members, 3 senators, 3 House members, and one representative each from local government, youth, and the private sector. – With a report from Mara Cepeda/


Opposition lawmakers: Why 'rush' budget debate in the House?

MANILA– Don’t let go of the power over appropriations.
Opposition lawmakers on Tuesday, August 29, questioned the lower House's attempt to rush the passage of the proposed 2018 national budget, supposedly cutting short scheduled plenary debates.
“We are afraid that the General Appropriations Bill or Act will even be a replica of the National Expenditure Program…. Look at what’s going happen this coming week. The plenary debates have been reduced to 5 days,” said Albay 2nd District Representative Edcel Lagman, a Liberal Party member who belongs to the opposition bloc.
The National Expenditure Program is prepared by the budget department, and is submitted to the House for scrutiny. The budget measure emanates from the lower chamber, and passed on to the Senate, before it is approved in the bicameral conference committee.
For 2018, the national government is proposing a budget of P3.767 trillion – an amount 12.4% higher than the 2017 national budget and 21.6% of the gross domestic product.
The House appropriations committee last week wrapped up committee briefings on the budgets of various departments and agencies. The budget is currently being tackled during pre-plenary hearings. It will be discussed before the plenary – or the House as a whole – by September 4.
Lagman said that, “based on the calendar,” the House plenary should have until September 8 to discuss the budget.
“We don’t understand the rush,” said Akbayan Representative Tom Villarin.
“The power of the House over the appropriations measure [over] what we call the supremacy of the House, I think, has been lost, it’s a lost prerogative. It’s a challenge to the present leadership of the House, or the committee on appropriations, to capture the plenary power of the House on appropriations,” added Lagman.
He noted that the House “supermajority” typically “accedes to the demands of the executive.”
Committee chairman and Davao 1st District Representative Karlo Nograles brushed off Lagman and Villarin’s allegations. He said the “3 layers of budget discussions” in itself was a good exercise of the power of the purse.
Still, Nograles expected plenary debates to last shorter than in 2016, the first time the Duterte administration proposed a budget.
“Last year, we were able to complete plenary debates in 7 days, considering that it was the new President's maiden budget. This year, this being President Duterte's second budget, perhaps we can finish this in 5 days,” he said.
Lagman chided the apparent rush, quipping: “The objective is, again, to set a record.”
Pre-plenary budget conferences are scheduled from August 29 to September 8. The committee has yet to release a schedule for the plenary debates. –


Duterte defends son-in-law, distances self from Paolo's ex-wife

Photo: IN DEFENSE. There is nothing suspicious about his son-in-law Manases Carpio's visits to government offices, says President Rodrigo Duterte. Malacañang file photo

MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday, August 29, defended his son-in-law Manases "Mans" Carpio from claims that he is involved in smuggling.
The President also distanced himself from his son Paolo's ex-wife, Lovelie Sumera, who was supposedly spotted visiting government offices and was referred to as "Lovelie Duterte."
"As for this issue with Mans, I do not apologize for him because he's a lawyer. And every lawyer knows that. That's our job," said Duterte, addressing new government appointees.
He said he found nothing wrong with Carpio being seen in government offices. Earlier that day, in a Senate hearing, Senator Antonio Trillanes IV and a Bureau of Customs (BOC) official claimed Carpio visited the office of outgoing Customs Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon several times.
"If he's just going to the [BOC] in connection with the case of [his] client... that was my work before. We have to protect the interest of our client, that's our oath of office as lawyers," said Duterte.
Carpio himself denied Trillanes' claims, calling him a "desperate rumormonger."
However, the President said he promised to resign only if there is proof that his children are involved in corruption. The promise does not cover sons- or daughters-in-law.
"Sabi ko, ni-limit ko doon sa mga anak ko kasi wala akong kontrol sa ibang tao (I limited it to my kids because I have no control over other people). Like for example, just like my son-in-law who is a lawyer and it is perfectly all right for him to see anybody," said Duterte.
The President added that he had read in newspaper reports that a certain Lovelie, allegedly his daughter-in-law, was seen visiting government offices.
Reports supposedly stated that she was referred to as Lovelie Duterte.
The President emphasized that there is no Lovelie Duterte. The Lovelie he knows is the former wife of Paolo who is now known as Lovelie Sumera after she married a man with that last name. Her maiden name was Sangkola.
"Hindi ko manugang 'yan. Diyan nga ako nagkaroon ng sugat sa puso noon. Imagine, your 18-year-old son eloping with a 24, tapos – nahirapan talaga, hindi nakatapos," he said.
(She is not my daughter-in-law. I experienced a heartache with her. Imagine, your 18-year-old son eloping with a 24, then – we had a hard time, he wasn't able to finish school.)
Lovelie and Paolo, said Duterte, separated 10 years ago. The President hasn't seen her "for the longest time."
Paolo, the vice mayor of Davao City, is now married to January, a councilor. –


WATCH | Callamard again rejects Du30’s latest debate challenge: ‘UN visits aren’t for theatrics’

Reuters file photos of President Rodrigo Duterte and Agnes Callamrd, UN special rapporteur on extra-judicial executions

MANILA, Philippines – United Nations Rapporteur on Extra-Judicial Execution Agnes Callamard again thumbed down President Rodrigo Duterte’s challenge for her to go on an official visit to the Philippines and debate with the chief executive on the country’s drug problem. 

“An official visit without respect for the victims, respect for the law, respect for due process would be unacceptable. An official visit is not a vehicle for entertainment, theatrics or politicking,” said Callamard in her Twitter posts Wednesday night. 

Earlier in the day, Duterte again urged Callamard to come to the country and said that “in five questions,” about the narcotics problem being faced by the Philippines, he would make the “crazy” UN rapporteur “look like a fool.”  

Pumunta ka dito. Ayaw naman makipag-debate. Kasi kung makipag-debate ‘yan, in five questions, gawain kong t**** ‘yang buang na ‘yan,” the President said. 

Sabihin pa, ‘O, last na itong kay Kian ha? ‘Pag meron pa…’ P*** [She even said ‘Kian should be the last…if there’s another one…b****). Who are you to say that? Kaya b***** s*** ko [So I cursed at her],” the President added. 

Last Monday, Callamard said she hoped that Grade 11 student Kian Loyd delos Santos would be the last victim of the Duterte administration’s war on drugs, which she had repeatedly criticized as having been proven ineffective for its inordinate focus on neutralizing drug suspects.

Last March, Callamard urged Duterte to stop his war on drugs campaign and also said that the Philippines’ strategy might not be the solution to the narcotics trade.

Also, the UN rapporteur said statements coming from the President “carry so much weight” and thus he could not just “call on anyone to kill anyone else.”

In May, Callamard went to the Philippines for a drug policy forum at the University of the Philippines in Quezon City. 

During the event, Callamard said “many harms associated with drugs are not caused by drugs, but by the negative impacts of badly thought out drug policies.”

Late last year, Duterte also challenged Callamard to engage him in a debate before the Philippine government allows her to investigate possible human rights violations amid the administration’s war on drugs campaign. 

Duterte said he wanted to refute in public Callamard’s claim and know where the UN rapporteur got her “garbage” about summary killings in the Philippines.

Callamard also rejected Duterte’s challenge because she said it was not consistent with the code of conduct for special rapporteurs.

Video link:



25 solons endorse Sereno impeachment

At least 25 lawmakers in the House of Representatives on Wednesday endorsed the impeachment complaint filed against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno. Photo courtesy of Atty. Larry Gadon

The impeachment complaint against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno was officially filed in the House of Representatives late on Wednesday after 25 lawmakers endorsed it.
Lawyer Lorenzo Gadon expressed optimism that he had built a solid case to unseat Sereno on charges of failing to disclose her real net worth, buying a luxury car with public funds and pressuring judges to defy the Duterte administration.
Sereno was not available for comment as of press time on Wednesday night.

“I believe I have a strong case when it comes to the impeachment trial in the Senate because all the grounds for impeachment here are backed up by official documents,” Gadon told reporters after filing the complaint.
A vote of one-third of the 293 members of the House is needed to send the articles of impeachment to the Senate, whose members will serve as judges in the trial.

Gadon confirmed reports that he met with Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and other House leaders before getting the signatures he needed to file the complaint. But he said he was not authorized to discuss what happened.
Under the 1987 Constitution, an impeachment complaint may only be filed by a non-House member if it is endorsed by a House member.
Among those who signed the complaint were Deputy Speakers Gwendolyn Garcia, Frederick Abueg, Mylene Garcia Albano and Ferdinand Hernandez, Isabela Rep. Rodolfo Albano III, Coop Natcco Rep. Anthony Bravo, Davao Oriental Rep. Joel Mayo Almario and Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Ace Barbers.
In the complaint, Gadon accused Sereno of failing to declare P37 million in lawyer’s fees in her net worth, buying with public funds a brand-new Toyota Land Cruiser worth P5 million as her personal vehicle, manipulating judicial appointments and pressuring judges to defy the administration.
He cited as grounds for impeachment her alleged transgressions showing that she culpably violated the Constitution, betrayed the public trust, committed corrupt practices and other high crimes.
Sereno, according to Gadon, was untruthful when she deliberately excluded in her initial statement of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN) the exorbitant lawyer’s fees amounting to P37 million from the Philippine government as part of a team of local private lawyers in the Philippine International Air Terminals Co. (Piatco) case.

In the case, the Philippine government was ordered to compensate Piatco for expropriating Terminal 3 of Ninoy Aquino International Airport that the company built.
At the Senate impeachment trial in 2012, then Chief Justice Renato Corona was found guilty of not declaring certain bank deposits in his SALN and was subsequently ousted.
Sereno neither declared “the amounts she received from the US law firms nor the Manila International Airport Authority, for the same purpose,” Gadon said.
“To evade payment of appropriate taxes, respondent Sereno never reported this to the Bureau of Internal Revenue. Consequently, respondent Sereno never paid taxes for her extortionate attorney’s fees,” he said.
Gadon also accused the Chief Justice of staying in opulent hotels when attending conferences in the Philippines and abroad, and flying on business or first class together with her staff and security.
In 2016, he said, Sereno organized an international conference in Shangri-La Boracay “and got herself billeted in the Presidential Villa, easily a P200,000-a-night room.”
She “obstructed justice by ordering Muntinlupa judges not to issue warrants of arrest” against Sen. Leila de Lima, the lawyer said.
“Sereno instructed a Supreme Court official to call the judges, to order them not to issue warrants of arrest against the accused, ‘considering she is a senator.’
“The Supreme Court official had no choice but to follow the orders of respondent Sereno and call the judges,” Gadon said.


Martial law victims slam Marcos deal

Return all the ill-gotten wealth. Disclose any condition for its return. Hold the Marcoses accountable for raiding the public coffers.

Several lawmakers and victims of abuses under the Marcos regime issued these calls a day after President Rodrigo Duterte announced that the family of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos was willing to return part of its wealth, including gold bars, to help government manage its finances.
Loretta Ann Rosales, a torture victim during the Marcos regime, said the Marcoses “will have to be accountable for something they took from the government, which Duterte claims they are now willing to give.”

“That will be an admission that the father was a plunderer,” said Rosales, a former chair of the Commission on Human Rights.
The Campaign Against the Return of the Marcoses to Malacañang (Carmma) called the Marcos family’s offer to return part of its wealth a “scam” and urged the public not to fall for it.

As skepticism greeted the Marcos offer, Malacañang said the President was looking after the Filipinos’ best interest.
Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said Mr. Duterte wanted what was best for Filipinos.
Carmma spokesperson Bonifacio Ilagan said the offer was part of the Marcoses’ gameplan to return to power.
“Imee Marcos is going to run for senator in the next elections and Bongbong for president,” Ilagan said.
Duterte allies

He said the Marcoses knew that the biggest issue against their comeback was their ill-gotten wealth, part of which they are now offering to return “without even admitting [to wrongdoing].”
The Marcoses, including Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos and former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., are known political allies of Mr. Duterte.
In one of his previous speeches, the President had identified Imee as one of the chief financiers of his presidential campaign.
The family is believed to have amassed $10 billion over the two-decade rule of Marcos, who was ousted in February 1986.
Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III said there was a need to get the details of the offer made by the Marcos family.
“But if it’s a settlement, the Republic of the Philippines is not cheap and whatever the entire wealth that was stolen, should be returned,” Pimentel said.
If the offer was a donation to help the government as Mr. Duterte had implied, Pimentel said this should be accepted as long as it would not affect the cases the Marcoses were facing.
‘Not that simple’
When Mr. Duterte disclosed the offer of the Marcoses to return part of their wealth, he did not refer to it as ill-gotten and neither did he say that the family had admitted that it had stolen from the country’s coffers.
The President said the family gave the reason that Mr. Marcos was “protecting the economy,” which was why it seemed the wealth had been hidden.
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said facilitating the return of the Marcos wealth might not be that simple, as there were pending cases against the Marcos family.
As head of the executive department, Mr. Duterte may enter into an agreement with the Marcos heirs, Aguirre said.
“It could be done under the framework of the law. Maybe there should be a new agreement, an enabling law or an initiative law or regulations to be issued by the President himself,” he added.
Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman said the Marcos heirs should reveal “any conditionality for the voluntary partial surrender” of the family’s ill-gotten wealth.
Danilo de la Fuente, spokesperson of Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto, said the Marcoses should still be considered criminals.
“The Marcoses should return all ill-gotten wealth, every centavo of it, but plunderers and criminals they remain,” he said.
Zenaida Mique, executive director of Claimants 1081, a group of human rights violations victims, said Mr. Duterte’s Monday announcement was “unacceptable.”
“They have no moral or legal rights to choose to return ‘some’ of these ill-gotten wealth. We’re talking here of Filipino people’s money,” Mique said in a text message. —WITH REPORTS FROM DJ YAP AND LEILA B. SALAVERRIA


Solon recalls Imelda story on Marcoses’ 7,000 tons of gold

Former Manila Mayor Lito Atienza, now Buhay party-list representative, said on Wednesday that Imelda Marcos, the widow of dictator Ferdinand Marcos, once confided to him that her family kept 7,000 tons of gold deposited all over the world.
Atienza said Imelda, now an Ilocos Norte representative, claimed that she had offered to pay off the country’s foreign debt with the gold but she supposedly could not touch the money due to the interference of a “superpower.”
“I’m announcing it in light of these developments,” Atienza told a press briefing after he was asked to comment on President Rodrigo Duterte’s disclosure that the Marcos family had offered to return some of its wealth.

“She told me, ‘A superpower is preventing us. We can’t move any of the gold deposited in many parts of the world.’ I asked her, ‘what is your estimate?’ 7,000 tons,” Atienza quoted the former first lady as saying.
The gold hoard of the Marcoses, if true, is bigger than the 4,582 tons being kept at Fort Knox in Kentucky; the 3,374 tons in gold holdings of Germany; and the 1,842 tons of China.
The congressman said Imelda made the revelation in a private talk some time in the late 1990s or early 2000s at a wedding in which both of them stood as sponsors.

“You can ask her to confirm it,” he said, adding that the two of them were not even close friends at the time.
“I’ll liberate the country of its foreign debt,” Imelda was supposed to have said.
But Atienza added that Imelda’s daughter, Imee, now governor of Ilocos Norte, overheard the conversation and quickly issued a denial: “Do not believe a word of it,” he quoted the daughter as saying.
The Inquirer tried to reach Imelda through her office at the House of Representatives, but her staff said she was not available for interview.
Speaking at the same press briefing, Minority Leader Danilo Suarez, who confessed to being a “Marcos boy,” expressed doubt that there was that much Marcos gold left.

“Where did it come from? I don’t think we will get that much tonnage. I’m having doubt really with the accuracy of that tonnage,” he said.
During the Marcos regime, Suarez said there was a good number of gold production operations in different mining sites.
“This gold is either sold to Bangko Sentral or sold privately. From what I’ve heard, Bangko Sentral can convert gold to US dollars and there were buyers of those gold bars,” he said.
“Some of those gold bars may have been purchased by the late President’s family,” he added.
At the oath-taking ceremony in Malacañang of newly appointed officials on Tuesday, Mr. Duterte said a Marcos spokesperson had agreed “to open everything and probably return what has been discovered.”
The President said the Marcos heirs had expressed openness to returning part of their wealth, including “a few gold bars,” to help the government manage the budget deficit.
A total of P170 billion in ill-gotten wealth had been recovered as of 2016 by the Presidential Commission on Good Government from the Marcoses and their cronies, including Swiss bank deposits, shares of stock, real estate properties, paintings and jewelry.


CALLAMARD REMARK: Duterte got it wrong on French law, says embassy

Sorry, monsieur, but you got it all wrong.

The French Embassy in Manila on Wednesday contradicted President Rodrigo Duterte’s claims that laws in France presumed a person guilty until proven innocent.
“We have to point out that, as in the Philippines, the presumption of innocence until proven guilty is at the core of the French judicial system, based on the principles enshrined in the French Declaration of Human and Civic Rights of Aug. 26, 1789,” the embassy said in a statement.

“France strongly believes in the importance of the rule of law, due process and respect for human rights in all countries, including the Philippines,” it added.
Mr. Duterte’s spokesperson, Ernesto Abella, said France and the Philippines shared “the same values of respect for human rights, due process and accords primacy to the presumption of innocence.”
“The President’s statements yesterday express the sentiment that while no judicial or legal system in the world is perfect, countries are continuously working to refine their laws and improve their respective national systems in order to ensure protection of human rights while maintaining peace and order within its territory,” Abella added.
Callamard tweet
During Monday’s press conference, Mr. Duterte lashed out at the United Nations’ special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings, Agnes Callamard, over her comments on the killing of Kian delos Santos alleged by policemen in an antidrug operation.
On her Twitter account, Callamard condemned the killing as “murder” and called for an investigation, saying the 17-year-old student’s death should be “the last.”
Mr. Duterte, who frequently uses coarse language particularly against critics of his drug war, lashed out at her. “Daughter of a whore, tell her! Don’t she dare scare me, daughter of a whore. She’s an idiot! Where is that crazy person from?”
Upon learning that she was French, he said people in France were presumed guilty unless proven innocent.

French law
“Even in her own place, that happens. She’s an idiot,” he said. “In their place, they can detain a person almost indefinitely under the French law. And the French law says you are guilty and you have to prove your innocence. That’s how it works.”
The embassy stressed that Callamard as special rapporteur “represents the UN, and not the French government.”
On Friday, a murder complaint was filed against the policemen involved in the shooting of Delos Santos in Caloocan City.
The student was one of more than 80 drug and crime suspects killed in purported gun battles with police over three days this month in the bloodiest period of Mr. Duterte’s antidrug campaign.
The killings have sparked alarm and investigations by the Senate and others. Anger and protests have focused on the killing of Delos Santos.
Police said the student was a drug courier who opened fire with a pistol during a raid. His family, however, said he was mercilessly killed by lawmen while pleading for his life and telling them he had an exam in school the next day. —WITH REPORTS FROM LEILA B. SALAVERRIA, AFP AND AP


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