Vice President Leni Robredo on Tuesday said that human rights is at the core of the country's soul, and thus must reflect in the administration's governance.
Robredo made the comment a day after President Rodrigo Duterte's first State of the Nation Address (SONA), where he warned human rights advocates not to use the issue as an excuse to destroy the Philippines.
The Vice President said she agrees with Duterte that human rights must not be used as a shield for wrongdoings. She noted, however, that human rights is at the heart of the 1987 Constitution, crafted following years of the country being under Martial Law.
"Ako, oo, naniniwala akong hindi dapat siya ginagawang panangga, pero dapat ring alalahanin natin na ang ating Konstitusyon ay kilala sa buong mundo bilang parang bastion talaga ng human rights," Robredo told reporters. "Dapat hindi natin ito nakakalimutan sa lahat ng ginagawa natin pagdating sa governance, sa lahat ng drives na ginagawa natin ngayon."
She added: "Ito 'yung buod, ito 'yung core din ng pinakakaluluwa ng ating bansa. Kung naaalala natin, magbabalik-tanaw tayo nu'ng paggawa ng 1987 Constitution, galing tayo sa isang rehimen na hindi binigyan ng malaking diin 'yung human rights, kaya malaking bahagi ng ating Konstitusyon, parang again and again nire-remind tayo na buod ito ng ating kaluluwa bilang isang bansa.
"Kaya while naniniwala ako na hindi dapat ito ginagawang panangga para gumawa ng masama, naniniwala rin ako na sa lahat ng ginagawa natin, hindi natin nakakalimutan kung ano 'yung kaluluwa ng ating Konstitusyon."
Robredo had previously issued a strong statement against extrajudicial killings, urging authorities to "seriously investigate" the said deaths.
She also raised concern over more than a hundred incidents of drug-related killings.
The Vice President has reiterated her support for Duterte and his drive against crime and illegal drugs through lawful means, but said she is worried over the "growing culture of vigilantism and violence" seen in the recent weeks.
"Feeling ko naman hindi niya (Duterte) iko-condone 'yung parang vigilante style na execution. 'Yung nakakabahala lang kasi marami na talaga. Ang nakakabahala rito, baka nagki-create na tayo ng culture of people taking law into their own hands, na hindi din dapat," she said last week.
She added: "Kasi hindi naman puwedeng pabayaan... Kaya naman tayo may mga courts kasi sila 'yung final arbiter kung sino ang nagkasala. Kasi kung tayu-tayo lang ang magdedesisyon, talagang grabe na 'yung disorder na mangyayari."
Robredo is also staunchly against the proposed return of death penalty, and said she thinks her stand is "something that the administration will respect." —JST, GMA News