Duterte: Don’t hesitate to kill just because civilians are there

Paterno Esmaquel II
'It is the duty of the civilians to flee or seek cover,' President Rodrigo Duterte says as the crisis in Marawi City rages

PSG ANNIVERSARY. President Rodrigo Duterte delivers a speech at the 120th anniversary of the Presidential Security Group (PSG) on June 28, 2017. Malacañang photo

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte told the military on Wednesday, June 28, that civilian presence should not deter them from killing outlaws, as he vowed to protect soldiers who follow orders. 

“Do not hesitate to kill just because there are civilians there. It is the duty of the civilians to flee or seek cover,” Duterte said at the 120th anniversary of the Presidential Security Group (PSG) on Wednesday.

The President explained: “We will face charges, minsan (sometimes) massacre. Alam mo ‘yang bala, lusot nang lusot ‘yan eh. Isang putok, isang squeeze ng armalite, the burst is about 3, 4. (You know, a bullet can hit through and through. For every shot, every squeeze of an armalite, the burst is about 3, 4.) You keep on pressing it, it can kill everybody behind.”

“‘Yung mga disgrasya na ‘yan, hindi na sinasadya,” he continued. (Those accidents are unintended.) 

Duterte made these remarks as month-long clashes rage between government troops and local terrorists in Marawi City. The Marawi crisis had prompted Duterte to declare martial law in the southern Philippines. 

In his speech on Wednesday, Duterte assured his troops that as long as they follow orders, “I will see you through and assure you, you will be a free man.”

Duterte also blasted those who invoke the Constitution to criticize his moves. “Constitution na sige sila, daldal ng Constitution. (They keep on talking about the Constitution.) That’s nothing to me, actually.” 

He pointed out that members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), and he himself, swore to “preserve and defend the Filipino people.” 

“That is the long and short of our duty. Wala na ‘yang papel, papel (I don’t care about those papers),” he said. “Do not give me that piece of paper. It doesn’t mean anything to me at all.” – Rappler.com

Paterno Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He obtained his MA Journalism degree from Ateneo and later finished MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at pat.esmaquel@rappler.com.