Presidents, being sovereigns, could be excused for making disrespectful statements but ranking officials of international human rights bodies cannot.
This was the assertion of Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano in a live interview on State of the Nation with Jessica Soho on Wednesday.
"Well, nasa role kasi 'yun eh. Prime ministers and presidents can be disrespectful. They're sovereign eh. So they can fight for their people and tell the truth and communicate that way," Cayetano said.
"Pero kung presidente ka or high commissioner ka ng human rights, hindi dapat," he added.
Cayetano was referring to United Nations High Commissioner on Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al-Hussein's remark that President Rodrigo Duterte needs to have himself examined by a psychiatrist, which the foreign minister described as "uncalled for."
Cayetano was being questioned about Duterte's penchant for vulgar language against critics during speeches.
The DFA chief referenced a previous incident wherein Duterte called Commission on Human Rights (CHR) chairperson Chito Gascon "bakla."
"Iba na si Chito Gascon na chairman siya ng CHR na ganoon ang sabihin. If I'm politically incorrect and may nasabi akong mali in describing either women or LGBT etcetera, 'di ba, it doesn't make it right but you can excuse me," Cayetano said.
"But if I'm chairman of the (CHR), hindi ko dapat gawin 'yon. Kasi sovereign 'tong nations na 'to eh," he added.
Gascon, Zeid and other UN rights officials have focused significant attention on the rising death toll in Duterte's drug war.
Zeid has also expressed concern over reports quoting Duterte threatening to slap UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings Agnes Callamard. —JST, GMA News