MANILA, Dec. 17 (UPI) — Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte rejected the United Nation’s request for a private meeting about alleged extrajudicial killings of suspected drug offenders, insisting they debate publicly.
Duterte set conditions for U.N. Special Rapporteur Agnes Callamard’s visit to discuss the alleged killings including a public debate in which he would be able to ask his own questions and Callamard would be questioned under oath, according to GMA Network.
Callamard said Duterte’s conditions for their meeting violate the U.N.’s code of conduct and terms of reference for country visits and proposed a private briefing followed by a joint press conference where the president would be able to challenge her findings.
Duterte refused to accept the meeting under her conditions and held firm to his demand for a public debate, the Philippine Star reported.
“No, I want it discussed in public so she can state her case,” he said. “If that’s what she did then I can refute her and ask her where did you get that garbage? What extrajudicial killings?”
Duterte said he has been transparent in his goal to combat the country’s drug problem by destroying not only tangible objects but also the people involved in the drug trade.
“I’ve been very open about everything. My order is to destroy (the drug apparatus). They did not understand the enforcement and the presidency,” he said.
He also denied ordering punitive police action and lashed out at western nations for trivializing the drug problem which he claimed affected four million Filipinos, a number not supported by data from the country’s Dangerous Drugs Board.
“I’m not ordering a punitive police action. I’m declaring war because of the number of people, Filipinos who were victimized by drugs,” Duterte said.