Duterte says he won’t condone killing of young Filipinos

Pia Ranada
The President promises an impartial investigation into the death of Carl Arnaiz, the second teenager whose death has sparked public outrage

PROTECTING THE YOUTH? President Rodrigo Duterte claims his drug war is for the protection of the youth. Malacañang file photo

MANILA, Philippines – After the recent deaths of two teenagers at the hands of police, President Rodrigo Duterte declared he does not condone the killing of Filipino youth in the name of his drug war.

“Wala akong inutos na patayin mo bata (I have never ordered the killing of children), even the enemy, on bended knees. That’s not the rule of democracy…I would never, ever condone or allow it,” he said on Wednesday, September 6, during the anniversary of the Social Security System in Quezon City.

Right before the event, Duterte met with the parents of teenager Carl Arnaiz at the Malacañang Golf Clubhouse. Arnaiz is the second teenager whose death recently sparked public outrage.

The 19-year-old was killed in a supposed shoot-out with police who were chasing him after he allegedly robbed a taxi driver. Police said packets of shabu and marijuana were recovered from Arnaiz.

Duterte told Arnaiz’s parents that his administration will pursue a case against the Caloocan City policemen involved in the incident. 

“I will pursue the cases against the police and, if need be, they should go to jail,” he said.

He ordered Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II to “take over” the investigation.

The President repeated his controversial promise to protect police and soldiers who implement his drug war. But, as has been the norm in his speeches following the death of Kian delos Santos, Duterte quickly followed it up with a reminder to law enforcers. (READ: Kian and Carl: What the deaths of two boys have in common)

“We will protect the soldiers and policemen, but always there has to be an element of the performance of duty and you do not kill defenseless persons,” said Duterte.

Delos Santos, who died two days before Arnaiz, was killed during an anti-drug operation in Caloocan City. While police claimed the 17-year-old student fought back, CCTV footage showed him being dragged to the alley where he was shot dead.

Delos Santos’ family has filed murder and torture complaints against the policemen. Duterte promised an impartial investigation into the teenager’s death.

Before Duterte’s speech on Wednesday, the body of 14-year-old Reynaldo “Kulot” de Guzman was found in a funeral parlor in Nueva Ecija. De Guzman, a Grade 5 student, was last seen with Arnaiz. His body bore around 30 stab wounds.

Duterte has consistently said his drug war is intended to protect Filipino children.

“If you destroy the youth of this country, I will kill you,” he has said in many speeches. – Rappler.com

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is a senior reporter for Rappler covering Philippine politics and environmental issues. For tips and story suggestions, email her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.