Malacañang on Thursday defended President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on his promise to Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev that the two Russian drug suspects in the country will be treated with ‘comfort.’
“Kapangyarihan ng Presidente na maging chief architect ng foreign policy. Iyan po ay legal at walang basehan ang pula na special treatment ito (It is the President’s power to be a chief architect of foreign policy. That is legal and this being a special treatment is baseless),” Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque stressed in an interview with DZMM.
Roque said that the President said these words to further strengthen the ties between the two countries.
He was replying to a remark by Commission on Human Rights (CHR) spokesperson, Jacqueline De Guia, on Wednesday.
“There must be no special treatment of prisoners. Lahat sila dapat pantay sa mata ng batas at sa ilalim ng batas (They should all be treated equally in respect to the law), regardless of nationality and regardless of position or status in life,” she said.
On the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit, an official Palace transcript revealed how the Duterte and Medvedev’s conversation went.
According to Duterte, two Russian drug suspects, Yuri Kirdyushkin and Anastacia Novopashina, who were arrested in separate instances, are currently under investigation. But whether the allegation is true or not, the President vowed that they will be treated ‘fairly.’
“I would just like to say that we have a working functional justice system here and they will get a fair trial and that they will be detained in a comfortable house,” Duterte told the Russian Prime Minister.
Kirdyushkin was arrested by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) in October 2016 while Novopashina was arrested in November 2016 – both at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).
Kirdyushkin admitted that it was his first time to be a drug courier and that he only wanted to earn extra money. On the other hand, Novopashina was already being monitored by local officials and the United States Drug Enforcement Agency prior to her arrival in the Philippines.