Dutertes’ “overkill” statements draw criticisms

Jun. 15, 2024

DAVAO CITY,Philippines – Quiet on other issues except for Quiboloy. 

This is the criticism raised by various sectoral leaders on the statements of former President Rodrigo Duterte and his daughter Vice President Sara Duterte who both called out the June 10 police operations to arrest preacher Apollo Quiboloy an “overkill” of “excessive force”.

Hundreds of police operatives swooped into five properties at the dawn of Monday in an attempt to arrest Quiboloy who is facing charges of child and sexual abuse and trafficking, but all failed to find the fugitive preacher.

The former president, an ally of Quiboloy and the current administrator of the latter’s properties, called the operation “unacceptable” in his statement.

“Will this overkill be the trademark of this administration when dealing with individuals who are merely accused of committing a crime and have not been proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt?” the former president said.

Vice President Sara Duterte also released a statement written in Filipino, which described the incident as a “chaotic manner of implementing an arrest warrant through questionable excessive force and authority in front of civilians.”

Members of Quiboloy’s group, the Kingdom of Jesus Christ (KJOC), attempted to block the police from entering two of the KJOC properties. KJOC leaders and its legal counsel claimed that members were physically hurt and the gates of their prayer mountain was damaged.

The statements, however, irked a naval officer who said they have never heard the Dutertes defend them on the issue of the West Philippine Sea.

“They never had any comments when the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine Coast Guard were subjected to inhumane and barbaric harassment while carrying out a medical evacuation in Ayungin Shoal. However, (with Quiboloy) they have lengthy statements and even criticized the police’s efforts to arrest him,” said Commodore Jay Tarriela, PCG adviser for maritime security and spokesperson on the WPS.

The vice president had previously said “no comment” when asked by reporters about recent incidents where Chinese Coast Guard shot water cannons on naval officers in Ayungin Shoal.

“I find such reaction paradoxical, and it makes one question where their loyalty and interests really lie,” he added.

A priest also drew paradox to the former president’s statement known for his war on drugs campaign that resulted to killings of people.

“’Excessive force’ is when helpless people sustain torture marks, beaten and later are helplessly killed. But the most brazen use of excessive force and even a reign of terror was during the time of former president Rodrigo Duterte. A reign that left a bloodbath of at least 30,000 people killed mostly among the poorest of the poor in Metro Manila. Excessive force is about the war-on-drugs of Rodrigo Duterte against the poorest of the poor,” said Fr. Flavie Villanueva, SVD on his Facebook post.

The youth group Anakbayan Southern Mindanao chapter posted on their Facebook account a gallery of statements they called “the duality of Duterte”.

The post compared his statement to his quotes during his presidency where he chided jeepney drivers opposed to modernization to “starve to death (magtiis kayo sa gutom)”, threatened Lumad students he will bomb their schools in the countryside, and warn of killing three million drug addicts the same way Hitler massacred 3 million Jews.

Kabataan Representative Raoul Manuel, meanwhile, challenged the former president to spend time to face the House committee hearing on the drug war.

“He has time to defend an indicted child sex trafficker from a long-overdue arrest. He should rather be ready to face the House Committee on Human Rights hearing on drug war, where the poor were taken by police without arrest warrants and killed,” Manuel posted on his Twitter/X account.

Political analyst Professor Ronald Llamas said in an interview on ANC that the ties between Quiboloy and the Dutertes is “more than just friendship” as they could have probably shared resources and political base. 

Quiboloy is known as the former president’s friend and “spiritual adviser” and has oftentimes provided his chopper for Duterte’s transportation.  

Duterte is now designated as the administrator of Quiboloy’s properties including the KJOC main headquarters in Buhangin and the prayer mountain in Calinan.

Quiboloy remains in hiding since February as he claims threats to his life and security if he is arrested.(davaotoday.com)

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