MANILA, Philippines – In his latest remarks about teenagers' deaths, which have tainted his drug war, President Rodrigo Duterte said one of the victims, Carl Angelo Arnaiz, is his "relative."
"Will I allow the police to kill my own relative?" he said on Friday, September 8, during a speech in Digos, Davao del Sur.
Unable to recall Arnaiz's name, Duterte turned to Special Assistant to the President Bong Go.
"Who's that relative? My relative?" he asked while still behind the podium.
Go replied with Arnaiz's full name.
Arnaiz's father Carlito is supposedly related to the Roas or the family of Duterte's mother Soledad Roa. Carlito also supposedly hails from Maasin, Southern Leyte, where Duterte's family lived for a while.
Duterte then defended his drug war in the face of the deaths of 3 teenagers which have sparked public outrage.
He reminded police that he would only protect them if they conducted anti-drug raids within the confines of the law.
He promised both the parents of Arnaiz and those of another teen victim, Kian delos Santos, that the government would conduct an impartial probe into the deaths.
In a previous speech, Duterte said he does not condone the killing of youths. But critics have pointed out that his past threats against drug suspects and his promises to protect police no matter what may have emboldened police to kill indiscriminately. – Rappler.com
Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.