MANILA, Feb. 20, 2015— Redemptorist “biking priest” Fr. Amado Picardal, a known peace advocate, has given some reasons why he is not voting for Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte if the latter runs for president in next year’s elections.
Among other reasons, the priest primarily questioned Duterte’s track record on human rights.
“Can we trust him to respect due process and human rights? The Human Rights Watch accused him of inspiring and supporting [the] Davao Death Squad,” Picardal said.
In its 2009 report, the international watchdog detailed the involvement of police and local government officials in targeted killings of alleged drug dealers and petty criminals and condemned the lack of any effort by authorities to investigate the killings and bring those responsible to justice.
In 2012, the HRW also called on the government to investigate Duterte for his possible involvement in the death squad that led to over 250 local killings from 2005 to 2009 alone.
Picardal, who is known for biking around the country “for life and peace”, also expressed reservations over Duterte’s supposed plan to abolish Congress if he will be elected president and run a revolutionary form of government.
“So who will make the laws? The president?” asked Picardal, a priest who is active in the campaign against vigilantism and extrajudicial killings in Davao where he was assigned for several years before he went to Manila when he was appointed executive secretary of the CBCP Committee on Basic Ecclesial Communities (BEC).
Duterte, who has been tagged as the country’s “Dirty Harry,” recently declared his openness to run for the presidency “if only to save” the country.
Picardal reacted: “Well, he has the right to run if he wants to but I wouldn’t vote for him.” (Roy Lagarde/CBCPNews)