‘Go to hell’, Philippines’ Duterte tells UN expert

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President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday told a United Nations rights expert to “go to hell” over criticism of the Philippine leader for threatening the country’s top judge.

Duterte’s latest profanity-laced diatribe came after Diego Garcia-Sayan, the UN special rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, said the president’s statements against former chief justice Maria Lourdes Sereno were a “vicious attack” on the judiciary.

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Sereno’s colleagues voted to remove her from office last month, shortly after Duterte openly called her his “enemy” and demanded her swift ouster.

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“Tell him (Garcia-Sayan) not to interfere with the affairs of my country. He can go to hell,” Duterte told reporters in Manila, insisting he had nothing to do with Sereno’s dismissal.

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“He is not a special person and I do not recognise his rapporteur title.”

Duterte, 73, has lashed out in the past — often using less-than-parliamentary language — at critics of the deadly drug war he launched soon after coming to power in 2016.

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Several of his opponents have since been ousted, punished or threatened.

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Police say they have killed 4,279 drug suspects in the anti-narcotics campaign but rights groups believe the actual number is three times higher.

Sereno was one of the few remaining high-profile critics of the crackdown at the time of her ouster.

The UN’s Garcia-Sayan said Friday that Duterte’s public threats against Sereno appeared to have had a “chilling effect” on her colleagues in the judiciary.

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“The use of such derogatory language… sends a clear message to all judges of the Philippines: in the so-called ‘war on drugs’, you’re either with me or against me,” Garcia-Sayan said.

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