Duterte: Senate hearings won't stop drug war
MANILA, Philippines – No matter how many hearings on human rights violations are held, President Rodrigo Duterte says he will stay focused on his campaign against illegal drugs.
“I don’t care if there are a thousand hearings everywhere. Naka-focus lang ako sa trabaho ko. I will not stop until I shall have have exterminated them, patayin ko talaga mga drug lords (I will really kill the drug lords),” said Duterte on Monday, September 19, in Davao City.
He was meeting survivors and relatives of victims of the Davao City bombing.
These words are the closest thing to a response from the President on the Senate investigation on extrajudicial killings. In a recent hearing, a supposed member of a vigilante group claimed Duterte himself ordered the extrajudicial executions of criminals in Davao City.
“I will stick to my own agenda. Congress, they have their own show. Go ahead, be my guest. Ako, nakatutok ako doon sa pangako ko (Me, I am focused on my promise),” said Duterte.
Around an hour before Duterte spoke, his fiercest critic in the Senate, Senator Leila De Lima, was ousted from her position as chairperson of the Senate’s justice committee. It was in this capacity that she helmed the investigations into the extrajudicial killings under the Duterte administration.
Aside from Senate hearings, Duterte also appeared to be referring to statements of United Nations officials like UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
“Whether magpuntahan si Ban Ki-moon dito (Even if Ban Ki-moon comes here), I do not give a shit because I have a promise to the Filipino who elected me as president,” said Duterte.
The President emphasized that over 16 million Filipinos voted him into power after he ran on an anti-crime and anti-drugs platform.
“I will deliver. Maski ‘yung buong UN magpunta dito, tumabi kayo diyan (Even if the whole UN goes here, they should step aside). I was elected because of this,” he added.
Duterte appeared to call out the European Parliament, the most recent foreign body to comment on his “war” on drugs.
“Mga EU, mga ulol, dami niyong kasalanan sa kapwa niyong tao (You in the EU, you idiots, you have many sins against your fellow man),” he said after implying that some people in Europe have been paid to discredit him.
But Duterte still defended his anti-drugs campaign, saying he only orders the killing of drug personalities if they fight law enforcers.
“I will kill you if I have to – ‘I have to’ means lumaban ka. Hindi mo na kailangan sabihin sa pulis ‘yan (‘I have to’ means you fought back. You don’t need to remind the police about that.),” he said.
The President said he was only threatening criminals, not ordering their deaths outside of due process.
“If you do not stop your business there, I will kill you. Is there any law that will make it unlawful for me to threaten criminals?” he said.
Over 3,200 people have died in relation to the Duterte administration’s anti-drugs efforts. Of these, 2,073 were victims of extrajudicial killings.
The Palace, however, said the Duterte government is not behind the extrajudicial executions, saying these are the work of criminal syndicates.
Over 700,000 supposed drug addicts have surrendered to authorities since the start of the Duterte administration. But the Department of Health says of these, only 500 persons have been admitted in treatment and rehabilitation centers. – Rappler.com