Duterte taunts Gascon: 'Are you gay or a pedophile?'

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(File photo)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 17) — President Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday asked if Human Rights chief Chito Gascon was a pedophile for focusing on the killing of teenagers in the drug war.

"Bakit ka mahilig masyado sa teenager? Are you? Nagdududa tuloy ako eh. Bakla ka o pedophile ka? 'Yan lang nakatutok ka," he said during his speech in Davao City.

[Translation: Why are you so fixated on teenagers? Are you? I am starting to have doubts. Are you gay or a pedophile? You're fixating on a small thing.]

Duterte's comments come after the series of killings involving teenagers Kian Delos Santos, Carl Arnaiz, and Reynaldo de Guzman.

The President earlier slammed Gascon on the way he runs the CHR, which is looking into abuses of policemen in the drug war.

The Lower House recently granted the agency a ₱1,000 budget, a move Gascon said as a "whimsical and capricious display of vindictiveness."

READ: House gives CHR ₱1,000 budget for 2018

Gascon told CNN Philippines on Sept. 10, they will exhaust all legal means to access records involving the deaths, following Duterte's statement that records will not be released to the agency.

The CHR said it would subpoena spot, investigation, forensic and inventory report related to the drug war so it can properly investigate the killings. 

In July, the CHR also said the President "exhibits an utter disregard for due process, equal protection, and other civil liberties."

READ: CHR: Duterte admin 'encouraged deepening of impunity'

During his post-SONA press conference, President Duterte slammed CHR for their investigation of government troops over their alleged human rights violations in different operations, including the Marawi crisis and their fight against communist rebels.

"Remember this. Human Rights Commission, you address your request through me because the Armed Forces is under me and the police is under me," Duterte said.

Duterte on Saturday said policemen die every day in anti-drug operations as well, but their deaths are not widely reported.

He added policemen should continue doing their job.

"Just because there – there are some people who died there, and even teenagers, it doesn't mean to say na you have to stop. We cannot stop. Otherwise, I will throw this country to the dogs," Duterte said.

Teenagers killed

The recent killings of the teenagers have sparked outrage, prompting the Senate to conduct a probe.

Delos Santos was killed on Aug. 16 in an anti-drug operation in Metro Manila.

Police claimed he fired at them, prompting them to fire back. But accounts from witnesses and a CCTV footage show otherwise.

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre, meanwhile, was ordered by Duterte to look into the death of 19-year-old Carl Arnaiz who was last seen alive on Aug. 18.

A cab driver, Tomas Bagcal, claimed Arnaiz tried to rob him, but was able to get help from police. The driver said Arnaiz was alive when he turned him over to the police station on 9th Avenue in Caloocan.

READ: Taxi driver says Carl Arnaiz held him up, claims killing 'scripted'

Arnaiz's family found his body at a morgue 10 days later.

Reynaldo de Guzman, a 14-year-old boy, was last seen with Arnaiz on Aug. 18, but was not with Arnaiz on the night of the alleged robbery.

De Guzman's father identified the body of a person who they said was their son on Sept. 6. The body, recovered in a creek in Nueva Ecija, bore multiple stab wounds and the head was wrapped in packaging tape.

READ: Carl Arnaiz's missing companion found dead in Nueva Ecija

Despite the identification, the police said DNA analysis showed it was not Reynaldo de Guzman.

CNN Philippines digital producer Ver Marcelo contributed to this report.