MANILA, Philippines – Days after rallies condemning human rights violations under the Duterte administration, President Rodrigo Duterte gave his strongest statement against extrajudicial killings so far.
"'Yung nakatali, on bended knees 'yung nakatali sa likod, would it make you a better policeman or soldier? At saka, kung ginawa nila 'yun, baka siya ang babarilin ko," said Duterte on Monday, December 12.
(The person is on bended knees, hands tied at the back, would it make you a better policeman or soldier? And if they do that, maybe I will shoot them.)
"If you keep on killing people tapos (then) it becomes a popular notion, huwag mo gawin 'yun, especially if papalusot ka na, 'Ito sir, drug pusher ito.' Sabi ko, I've been mayor for 23 years, do not – talagang hihiritan kita. Putangina, babarilin kita," he added.
(If you keep on killing people then it becomes a popular notion, don't do that, especially if your excuse is, "He was a drug pusher." I said, I've been mayor for 23 years, do not – I will really target you. Son of a whore, I'll shoot you.)
He was giving a speech at the awarding of Ten Outstanding Filipinos in Malacañang.
"Huwag mo gawin sa akin (Don't do that to me), killing innocent people," Duterte continued.
He would also remind them to only use deadly force if the drug suspect fights back or threatens their lives. (READ: Shoot to kill? Duterte's statements on killing drug users)
Critics of the President's drug war claim police kill even drug suspects who don't put up a fight. ([WATCH] War on drugs: 'Nanlaban')
'I am not a killer'
In his Monday speech, Duterte said he is not a killer, again departing from previous speeches in which he has boasted or joked about killing thousands.
"I am not a killer. I do not relish or enjoy a Filipino sprawled there with all the blood and gore. Every time I decide on things – to buy guns, bullets, and everything – it's always in my mind that these things could be used against Filipinos," he said.
But Duterte reiterated his hardline stance against drugs.
"Naniwala ako ng karma pero ang problema ko ngayon sa droga, pati corruption (I believe in karma but with my problem now with drugs and corruption), I will hit hard," he said. (READ: Senate panels to Duterte: Follow the law)
On Sunday, December 11, Duterte had vowed to address the spate of extrajudicial killings being linked to his "war on drugs." (READ: Duterte on killings: Do you think I enjoy that?)
The day before, December 10 or International Human Rights Day, activists all over the country condemned what they described as Duterte's "worsening human rights record."
Senator Leila de Lima, one of Duterte's fiercest critics, earlier dubbed him "the father of all extrajudicial killings" and said he was a "murderer."
Senator Panfilo Lacson has called on the Philippine National Police to create a task force to probe extrajudicial killings.
More than 5,900 deaths have been linked to the Duterte administration's anti-drug campaign since July 1. Of this figure, around 2,000 have been killed in police operations, while the rest are victims of extrajudicial or vigilante-style killings. – 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.