Duterte warns: Murder-for-hire cops, soldiers will be 'neutralized'
MANILA, Philippines – Police or military personnel who kill for money will be "neutralized," President Rodrigo Duterte warned on Tuesday, July 31.
"I promised you, including uniformed personnel, huwag kayong pumasok diyan sa droga, 'yung murder-for-hire kasi ipro-project ko rin kayo (don't get into drugs, murder-for-hire because I'll make a project out of you). You can be very sure, there will be a project for you and really that is to neutralize or terminate you," he said.
Duterte was speaking to a room full of security and intelligence officials during the National Security Council anniversary in Pasay City.
"Kung hindi ko ganunin, walang mangyayari sa ating bayan (If I don't do that, nothing will happen to our country)," he added.
To neutralize, in law enforcer speak, means to take away the threat posed by a criminal or suspect. This could mean the arrest or incapacitation of the individual, or their death, if necessary.
But Supreme Court Associate Justice Francis Jardeleza previously pointed out the vagueness of the term as it is used in implementing the campaign against illegal drugs.
On Monday, July 30, it was discovered that one of those attempting to assassinate a Cebu councilor and former barangay captain was a policeman assigned to a drug enforcement unit.
'In accordance with law'
In the same Tuesday speech, Duterte reiterated his promise to cops and soldiers who implement his campaign against illegal drugs "in accordance with law."
He expounded on different "definitions" of this critical phrase, saying at first that it's up to security personnel to abide by it.
"'Yung 'accordance with law,' bahala ka na diyan. Alam mo naman kung patayin mo diyan sa harap ng Luneta, hindi naman 'yan accordance with law," he said.
(The phrase "accordance with law," that's up to you. You know that if you kill them in front of Luneta, it's not in accordance with law.)
He then spoke of one definition in which killing is lawful as long as there are no witnesses to tell on the police or soldiers.
"Kung dalhin mo doon sa kusina ng Manila Hotel, barilin mo, that is in accordance with law, eh wala ka man makita. Once there is a witness, then it's not in accordance with law. Napakabobo mo naman niyan, 'yang depinisyon mo na 'yan," he said.
(If you bring them to the kitchen of Manila Hotel, shoot him, that is in accordance with law because no one will see you. Once there is a witness, then it's not in accordance with law. How stupid, that definition of yours.)
Duterte has come under fire for encouraging cops to kill drug suspects whatever it takes. In December 2016, he urged law enforcers to give drug suspects a gun so it would be lawful to kill them for "fighting back."
"O 'pag walang baril…bigyan mo ng baril (If he has no gun, give him a gun)," the President had said on December 19, 2016.
Earlier that year, in September, Duterte told cops to kill drug suspects whether or not they fight back.
"Pagka bumunot, patayin mo. 'Pag hindi bumunot, patayin mo rin, putang ina, para matapos na (If they pull out a gun, kill them. If they don't, kill them still, son of a whore, so it's over)," he said then. – Rappler.com