At least two Catholic bishops have attacked Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte after he announced he intends to abolish the country’s human rights commission.
Bishop Arturo Bastes of Sorsogon said the president was “out of his mind.”
In his State of the Nation Address on July 24, Duterte said he wanted to shut down the commission, which has issued statements criticizing the president’s anti-narcotics war.
The president lambasted the human rights body for being silent over killings perpetrated by suspected drug addicts.
Retired Bishop Teodoro Bacani of Novaliches said the president cannot just abolish the commission because it was “created and protected” by the Philippine Constitution.
The prelate, who is one of the authors of the 1987 Constitution, called on Filipinos to pray for Duterte to regain his “good sense.”
Bishop Bacani said that the commission, which is tasked by law to monitor and document human rights abuses, can only be abolished through a constitutional amendment.
Bishop Bastes said Duterte’s threat to scrap the commission only shows that he has “no knowledge about how government should operate in a democratic society.”
“His desire to abolish [the commission] is a sign that he has a dangerous tendency to be a dictator,” said the prelate.