DAVAO CITY — President Rodrigo Duterte has reiterated his relentless fight against drugs in his various speeches at different occassions on Monday, August 29 and told his critics not to “scare” about human rights.
Duterte said the drug problem in the country was considered by former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as a “national security threat.”
He revealed this when he spoke during the commemoration of the National Heroes Day at the Libingan ng mga Bayani on Monday morning, August 29.
He said he will not stand down in his war against drugs and that he will be harsh “as can ever be”. He also vowed to finish the problem of corruption, drugs and criminality by the end of his term.
“So do not scare me about human rights. Sino bang pinatay ko? (Who did I kill?),” he said.
“I simply want the law abiding and the God-fearing citizens of this country to be comfortable. Period,” he said.
Duterte said he doesn’t mind going to prison and reiterated that he takes full responsibility of the operations of the police.
“You will have my support you will have all the things to fight criminals. Do not worry,” Duterte said.
Duterte also reiterated his stand against drugs during his visit at the wake of PO1 Gary Cabaguing in Catbalogan City at Samar.
He likewise visited PO1 Nestor Villanueva Jr at the Divine Word Hospital in Tacloban City. Villanueva Jr. was wounded in action while Cabaguing was killed when they were serving a warrant of arrest to a known suspected drug pusher in Marabut, Samar on August 24.
At the press briefings following his visits, Duterte said two policemen or soldier in a day were killed because of the war against drugs.
Duterte to cops: I will go to prison for you
He said as long as the operation was “in the pursuit of law and order, pursuant to my directions,” the government forces should not worry of having criminal liability.
“I will go to prison for you. I take full legal responsibility,” Duterte said.
“Just call my name and I will be there to protect you,” the president added. But Duterte also warned police and government officials who were involved in drugs and criminality.
“But for those in government, the corrupt police, the corrupt judges and the corrupt prosecutors, there will be a day of comeuppance, there will always be a day of reckoning,” he said.
Poverty is not an excuse
Duterte also said that he does not accept the reason of poverty as an excuse for someone to get into the drug trade.
“You know do not give me that just because he’s poor he needs to earn he has to sell shabu. That act does not really matter to some because they need to be protected,” he said.
‘Abusive war on drugs’
The Human Rights Watch has called the Duterte’s war on drugs as “abusive”.
In a statement on August 26, the HRW condemned the killing of five-year-old Danica May who is reportedly the youngest victim of the war against drugs.
The girl was killed after an unidentified man opened fire on her grandfather, Maximo Garcia, who was allegedly involved in drugs on August 23 in Dagupan City.
Three days before the shooting incident, her grandfather surrendered to the police to clear his name on the list of suspected drug personalities.
“Each day, the death toll from the government’s “war on drugs” climbs higher and higher,” said Phelim Kine, Deputy Director for Asia of HRW.
During the Senate hearing on extrajudicial killings on August 23, Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald Dela Rosa said the PNP has recorded a total of 1,916 killed with 1,160 unsolved killings and 756 killings of suspected drug users in police operations.
Kine also said the President “is steamrolling the rule of law and its advocates both at home and abroad.”
“He has declared the soaring number of killings of alleged criminal suspects as proof of the “success” of his anti-drug campaign and urged police to “seize the momentum”. He has sought to intimidate domestic critics of that campaign and dismissed international critics as “stupid”,” he said.
Kine said United States and European Union members, should make it clear to Duterte that inciting such violence is unacceptable and will reap potentially severe diplomatic and economic costs, beyond the human one.” (davaotoday.com)