Duterte to foreign reporter: I don't care about int'l criticism
MANILA, Philippines – The international community may raise hell in condemning the rising death toll in President Rodrigo Duterte's "war on drugs", but he himself couldn't care less.
At least, this is what Duterte told an American reporter on Friday evening, September 2, during a press conference at the Davao International Container Terminal in Panabo City, Davao del Norte. (READ: 'Nanlaban sila': Duterte's war on drugs)
Michael Sullivan, a National Public Radio Washington reporter, asked Duterte, "Do you care, one way or another, about the growing criticism both at home and especially abroad about the rising death toll in the war on drugs?"
Duterte replied, "No, not at all, not a bit, because I said there is a crisis."
International bodies like the United Nations and Amnesty International have criticized Duterte's drug war for supposedly promoting vigilanteism. The United States has expressed its concern for alleged human rights violations linked to the anti-drugs campaign.
But Duterte said he is not accountable to these groups.
"I am not worried about the international community because I am not the president of the international countries. I am the President of the Republic of the Philippines and I must solve decisively this problem or else the 3.7 million will compromise the next generation of Filipinos," he said empathically.
'I'm invoking sovereignty'
Duterte appeared to take criticism from the international community as leading to a breach in the country's sovereignty.
"I am invoking sovereignty, no interference. We never interfered in anybody’s business," he said.
Police operations in the name of his campaign against illegal drugs have led to the deaths of 929 drug suspects as of September 1, according to the Philippine National Police.
But extrajudicial killings or summary executions – deaths that happen outside police operations and carried out by unknown perpetrators – have claimed at least 1,507 lives.
Does Duterte care about these killings that occur outside the law? asked Sullivan.
In response to this, Duterte claimed those victimized by extrajudicial killings are criminals who were hunted down by other criminals who wanted to make sure they don't squeal to authorities.
"They kill each other, better. Criminals kill criminals, that is not my worry. It is the extrajudicial killing of people getting rid of criminals by their own hands," he said.
Liam Neeson's character
Though Duterte said he does not care about international criticism, he spent the rest of the press conference responding to the American journalist.
He criticized the war on terrorism carried out by the US and Britain in the Middle East.
He even brought up Hollywood movies where the protagonists are angry men punishing criminals, and them being glorified for it.
"What's the difference between Liam Neeson killing a lot of Europeans there and Americans because of what happened to his daughter?" said Duterte, referring to the movie Taken in which a man's daughter is abducted by criminals.
The moderator tried to end the press conference twice, only for Duterte to speak again, still addressing Sullivan.
Duterte ended the press conference by inviting Sullivan to cover and document an entire anti-drugs operation by the police.
"Call me anytime and if there's a big operation, bring your camera and your men and piggyback the entire operation," said the President. – Rappler.com
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