by Genalyn Kabiling
After some human rights advocates have criticized his brutal drug crackdown, President Duterte is taking refuge in Myanmar State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi’s statement that every right comes with responsibility.
The President said Suu Kyi was “very correct” about the responsibility that comes with a person’s many rights while defending his anti-drug efforts, including the proposed return of death penalty, in the country.
“It was Aung Suu Kyi. She said that if there is every right, there is always the responsibility. So if you are given the right to live by God, you have a responsibility,” he said in a press conference at the close of the ASEAN summit last Saturday night.
“You have your human rights, yes, correct but that human right given to you must be used by you to preserve human right also. That’s the long and short of her story,” he added.
Suu Kyi, a democracy leader freed after several years of arrest, recently represented Myanmar in the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in Manila last week. The popular Nobel Peace Prize winner joined the ASEAN discussions presided by Duterte on various issues, including regional peace, security, and economic development.
Before mentioning Suu Kyi, the President pushed for the return of capital punishment for drug-related crimes in the country.
“Look at the penal provisions of their countries. It’s death by hanging. It’s only the Philippines that has abrogated or suspended the death penalty,” said Duterte who has been under fire for the surge of drug-related killings under his watch.
Duterte said the country now has a “generation of criminals” as a result of the loophole in the juvenile justice law. He said the “disaster” started with the law, authored by Senator Francis Pangilinan, that allowed young offenders to get away with their crimes.
“Whatever was the crime: rape with homicide and robbery; robbery with rape, homicide; or homicide, rape. Below 15 years old, they are not even detained even for a minute,” he said.
“It was shortsighted. It was a disaster because we have produced a generation of criminals now who were the minors before who went in and out of prison without even being lectured on the sense of responsibility or accountability,” he added.
Since youth offenders get away with crimes, Duterte said this situation has “created the lawlessness.”
Duterte said the country’s juvenile justice law was pattered from those in the United States but criticized Pangilinan for failing to include key provisions on rehabilitation of minors.
He said in the United States, young criminals are required to go to a correctional facility to undergo reform. He said they were lectured about a citizen’s duties and responsibilities to the nation.