MALACAÑANG yesterday slammed a US intelligence community report that tagged President Rodrigo Duterte as “a threat to democracy and human rights in Southeast Asia.”
A World Threat Assessment Report published last week identified Duterte, along with ruling Thai officials and Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen, as among regional leaders who threaten democracy and human rights.
“In the Philippines, President Duterte will continue to wage his signature campaign against drugs, corruption, and crime. Duterte has suggested he could suspend the Constitution, declare a ‘revolutionary government,’ and impose nationwide martial law. His declaration of martial law in Mindanao, responding to the ISIS-inspired siege of Marawi City, has been extended through the end of 2018,” the report said.
Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque noted that Duterte’s independent foreign policy has made him “not a favorite among the Americans.”
“We view this declaration from no less than the intelligence department of the United States with some concern, knowing that at least in one case the International Court of Justice has found the US guilty of interference in the affairs of a domestic state,” he added, citing the case of Republic of Nicaragua v. The United States of America.
“This is something we are taking very seriously. It is coming from the intelligence community. It is not even coming from the State Department. It is something that the President will take seriously as well.”
In its decision, the ICJ found the US guilty of violating international law by supporting an armed rebellion against the Nicaraguan government.
Roque said the Philippines still wants to be friends with the US “but with declarations such as this, it is very difficult to be friendly with the United States...It doesn’t seem to be too friendly a declaration.”
He added that he does not believe the assessment report would affect a lawsuit filed against Duterte before the International Criminal Court since the US refused to be a member of the ICC.