MANILA, Philippines – “I’m a lawyer, I am a Christian and maski sabihin niyo (even if you say) how bad I am, I still have my values in life. I do not do that.”
This was Rodrigo Duterte’s response to Vice President Jejomar Binay’s accusation that he is an executioner fond of extrajudicial killings as a way to suppress crime.
Binay recently warned voters against Duterte, a presidential candidate who has made fighting crime, drugs, and corruption central to his campaign. But Binay questioned the means Duterte would use to rid the country of crime.
“I never admitted that I did an extrajudicial [killing]. What I admitted to him [was] killings,” Duterte told reporters on Friday, April 8.
“When you go against criminal syndicates, do not expect a pristine and white environment. It’s always bloody, but I never said extrajudicial,” he continued.
‘Worry about your money’
Duterte, who has surged in a recent election survey, had a question to ask Binay.
“Why is he so concerned about the killing? Why isn’t he worried about the money? The billions that he took with him?”
Aside from the Vice President, Liberal Party standard-bearer Manuel “Mar” Roxas II has also hit Duterte for his statements on killing criminals. Roxas claims that Duterte has only had petty criminals and juvenile delinquents killed instead of running after bigger fish.
Asked if this was true, Duterte said, “No, of course not. I never did it. The records will show.”
He said rumors of his involvement in the Davao Death Squad began as a political gimmick by political rivals in Davao.
“Pati ‘yung mga gang war, gang war isali nila, i-charge nila sa akin (They blame me even for the gang wars),” he said.
Later that day, during a speech in a tourism forum, Duterte clarified his approach to fighting crime.
He said even in other countries, police are allowed to shoot a suspected criminal if the criminal refuses to surrender.
“The chiefs of police of Europe and America decided that if they say ‘freeze’ or ‘lie down’ and you do not follow the order correctly, you pull something out of your pocket, you are dead,” he said.
Use of deadly force
Duterte, a lawyer and lecturer on criminal law, said shooting a criminal is also allowed if lives of law enforcers are endangered.
Under US law, justices in a landmark case (Tennessee vs Garner) held that, “Where the officer has probable cause to believe that the suspect poses a threat of serious physical harm, either to the officer or to others, it is not constitutionally unreasonable to prevent escape by using deadly force.”
When faced with criminal syndicates with everything to lose if they are caught, Duterte said a president should be able to make tough decisions.
“Davao City was really a violent place. We would lose 4 or 5 policemen or military a day. I cannot run the city if there is this lawless situation here,” he said.
The Mindanaon presidential bet could not help but allude to Binay in his speech.
“If you don’t like my style, there’s another one. He robs, his wife robs, his son robs. His whole family is into robbing.”
Binay and members of his family face corruption charges involving an overpriced parking building in Makati that began construction when he was still mayor of the city. – Rappler.com