Palace spokesman Harry Roque on Thursday said human rights organizations need to continue doing their jobs and call out the government for human rights violations when necessary.

“The moment human rights organizations cease to castigate governments for their alleged violations of human rights is the time when we have less effective human rights organizations,” he said in a virtual briefing.

Roque made the remark after former Commission on Human Rights chairwoman Etta Rosales said President Rodrigo Duterte was the “single biggest enemy of human rights in the country.”

“Matagal ko nang nakasama si Chair Etta. Lahat naman ng presidente sinasabihan iyan ng mga human rights advocates and the reason is they want to prompt government to still improve their level of compliance with human rights law,” he said.

“Talagang trabaho po iyan ng mga human rights defenders to call the attention of government,” he added.

Duterte, during his first United Nations address in September, claimed well-meaning and ill-intentioned interest groups had “weaponized” human rights during his presidential stint.

He accused such groups of intending to stain his administration.

“They attempt to discredit the functioning institutions and mechanisms of a democratic country and a popularly elected government which in its last two years, still enjoy the same widespread approval and support,” he said.

Also in September, Roque claimed human rights groups often invented reports to turn the public against the government.

“Ganiyan talaga ang trabaho ng mga human rights groups, mag-ingay para iyong mga gobyerno e pakinggan sila. Pero hindi naman ibig sabihin na lahat ng sinasabi nila ay gospel truth,” he said. John Ezekiel J. Hirro