Malacañang on Wednesday indirectly sided with a statement released by French Embassy in Manila against President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s claims on a French criminal law.
In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said that “The Philippines and France share the same values of respect for human rights, due process, and accords primacy to the presumption of innocence.”
This clarification is however in contrast to the President’s speech on the National Heroes’ Day celebration, saying that the Philippine and France are different when it comes to the justice system.
“Sa kanila (There), they can detain a person almost indefinitely, under the French law. And the French law says you are guilty, and you have to prove your innocence. Gano’n ‘yan. Presumption dito, inosente ka (It is like that. While the presumption here is that you are innocent),” Duterte said.
Nevertheless, Abella said that the President was only saying that there is a continuous effort from countries in improving their laws and respective national systems.
The President made his comment after criticizing and cursing Agnes Callamard, who was retweeting news reports about Kian delos Santos’ death – the 17-year-old killed in a buy-bust operation.
“My heart-felt condolences to #kian family and to all families victimized by this cruel war. #Makehisdeaththelast #Philippines,” she tweeted.
Duterte was not amused, “Republika ng Pilipinas ito, hindi teritoryo ng France (This is the Republic of the Philippines, not the territory of France),” he stated.
The Embassy of France however, countered Duterte’s remark in a statement.
“We have to point out that, as in the Philippines, the presumption of innocence until proven guilty is at the core of the French judicial system, based on the principles enshrined in the French Declaration of Human and Civic Rights of August 26, 1789,” the Embassy stated.
The Embassy added that, “France strongly believes in the importance of the rule of law, due process and, respect for human rights in all countries, including the Philippines.”