Duterte: Don't be president if you can't kill

For one to be president, one must know how to kill, President Rodrigo Duterte said on Tuesday evening, March 3.

Speaking before newly appointed government officials in Malacañang, Duterte said one should not be president if he couldn't stomach killing. Before issuing the remarks, Duterte also said he did not see anyone "fit" to serve as president after him.

"Frankly, wala akong nakita na p'wede talaga maging presidente (I don't see anyone who can become president)," Duterte said.

"Alam mo, sa totoo lang, presidente ka, na hindi ka marunong pumatay at takot kang mamatay, huwag ka na mag-presidente. Walang mangyari sa iyo, walang mangyari sa bayan kung puro utos ka lang," he added.

(You know, to be honest, if you're president and you don't know how to kill or you're afraid to die, don't be president. Nothing will happen to you and nothing will happen to the country if all you do is give orders.)

Duterte made the statement after sharing that he met with United States Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim, with whom he discussed his decision to terminate the Philippines' Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA).

Duterte again claimed that his decision to end the military pact stemmed from his anger over US officials' efforts to impose sanctions on Philippine officials involved in extrajudicial killings.

Aside from this, Duterte earlier said the final straw that pushed him to terminate the VFA was the US government's decision to cancel the visa of Senator Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa, his first Philippine National Police chief. Dela Rosa is also known as the architect behind the government's bloody anti-drug campaign.

"Sinabi ko sa kanya (I told him), extrajudicial killing? Wala akong pakialam diyan (I don't care about that). You can bring on the charges you want, but I will stick to my guns. I will kill anybody that will tend to destroy my country," Duterte said.

Human rights experts have widely denounced Duterte's anti-illegal drug campaign, warning of grave abuses and thousands of extrajudicial killings.

As of 2019, the government reported over 5,000 people have been killed in the war on drugs. The Commission on Human Rights estimated the death toll to be as high as 27,000, including those believed to be inspired by Duterte's violent tirades. – Rappler.com

Sofia Tomacruz

Sofia Tomacruz covers foreign affairs, the overseas Filipino workers, and elections. She also writes stories on the treatment of women and children. Follow her on Twitter @sofiatomacruz. Email her at sofia.tomacruz@rappler.com.

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