MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte appeared to admit to extrajudicial killings during a speech on Thursday, September 27, saying this is the only "sin" that he is guilty of.
"Ano kasalanan ko? Nagnakaw ba ako diyan ni piso? Did I prosecute somebody na pinakulong ko? Ang kasalan ko lang 'yung extrajudicial killings," he said during the oath taking of new Career Executive Service Officers in Malacañang.
(What is my sin? Did I steal even one peso? Did I prosecute somebody who I ordered jailed? My sin is extrajudicial killings.)
He then railed against International Criminal Court (ICC) officials who are now examining if the tribunal has jurisdiction to investigate his administration's bloody campaign against illegal drugs.
"Eh 'yang extrajudicial killing naman, itong mga ulol, lalo na 'yung, itim na sino 'yun, sabi ko, 'wag ka, ihampas ko sa ulo mo 'yung prosecutor na 'yan," said Duterte, apparently referring to ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda.
(That extrajudicial killing, these fools, especially the black person, whoever, I'll hit the head of that prosecutor.)
Duterte has a track record of making conflicting statements about his involvement in death squads and summary killings, both in Davao City where he was mayor for two decades and in nationwide crackdowns on drug suspects.
Duterte has also promised to promote cops who murder criminals, and then says abusive cops would be punished.
The Philippine leader then revived his rants against Senator Francis Pangilinan, president of the opposition Liberal Party.
"Ito naman si pontifical Pangilinan, akala mo walang kasalanan kung magsalita, siya pa 'yung presidente ng Liberal [Party]. Tingnan mo pati siya hindi manalo 'yan," said Duterte.
(This pontifical Pangilinan, you, you think he has no sins from the way he speaks, and he's the president of the Liberal Party. You'll see, he won't win.)
Pangilinan, however, is not running in the 2019 elections as his term as senator is until 2022.
Duterte thinks the Pangilinan law, so called because the senator authored it, is the "root" of criminal behavior because it raised the age of criminal responsibility to 15, thus supposedly taking away the "sense of accountability" from juvenile delinquents.
Duterte has been advocating for the age of criminal responsibility to be lowered to 9 years old. – 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.