Duterte's EJK remark a joke? Robredo calls it an insult
MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Leni Robredo on Sunday, September 30, said that interpreting President Rodrigo Duterte's admission of extrajudicial killings merely as a joke is an insult to the victims' families.
"Kung nagbibiro man, dapat hindi iyon ginagawang biro. Insulto 'yon. Insulto 'yon sa napakaraming pamilya na naiwan ng mga napatay dahil sa extrajudicial killings," Robredo said on her Sunday radio program. (If he was joking, then that should not be treated as a joke. That's an insult. That's an insult to the many families left by those who died because of extrajudicial killings.)
Robredo added that "it should be taken seriously," contrary to the stance of Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque. She said that such admission could be used as an evidence for the complaint lodged against Duterte at the International Criminal Court (ICC).
"Hindi mo dapat 'hindi siniseryoso iyon,' dahil maraming buhay iyong nakitil doon… Tapos ngayon, parang sasambitin na parang wala lang? Kung iyon naman ay pagpapahayag ng isang katotohanan, parang sinusuportahan mo iyong kaso sa International Criminal Court, 'di ba?" she said.
(You should not "not take it seriously," because several lives were lost because of that. Now, it's being treated as if it's nothing? If that was an admission of truth, this supports your case at the International Criminal Court, right?)
Robredo also said that the confirmation that there are extrajudicial killings came from Duterte himself, as other government officials repeatedly refused to admit such killings. (READ: No extrajudicial killings in PH? World 'not fooled,' says HRW)
"Kasi ano man iyong sabihin ng Presidente, nakaka-influence iyon ng policy. Nakaka-influence ito ng paano ang aksyon ng mga alagad ng batas, ‘di ba? Kapag Presidente iyong nagsabi na patayin iyong mga drug addict, nakita natin na talaga iyong patayan nandiyan," Robredo said.
(Whatever the President says, it influence policies. It influences how enforcers implement the law, right? If it was the President who said that drug addicts should be killed, we can see that there were indeed killings.)
Robredo reminded the public that Duterte's pronouncements serve as a declaration of policy, and that words of elected officials come with responsibilities.
Malacañang, on the other hand, sought to clarify that Duterte's supposed admission to the killings should not be taken seriously. (READ: Not funny: CHR calls out Duterte over extrajudicial killings remark)
Duterte faces complaints for crimes against humanity at the ICC over the thousands killed due to his campaign against illegal drugs. More than 27,800 Filipinos have died in both vigilante-style killings and police operations since the anti-drug campaign was launched in 2016.
With Duterte's fresh statement, human rights groups and opposition lawmakers urged the ICC to hasten the opening of an investigation. ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda is still conducting a preliminary investigation into whether the international tribunal has jurisdiction over the case.