Tag Archives: Duterte

Philippines’ Duterte says he can be held responsible for drug killings

The Philippine president has said he has no problem with being held responsible for the many killings under his anti-drugs crackdown, adding that he was ready to face charges that could land him in jail, though not charges of crimes against humanity.

President Rodrigo Duterte’s televised remarks Monday night were among his clearest acknowledgement of the prospects that he could face a deluge of criminal charges for the bloody campaign he launched after taking office in mid-2016. Nearly 6,000 killings of drug suspects have been reported by police but rights watchdogs suspect the death toll is far larger.

“If there’s killing there, I’m saying I’m the one … you can hold me responsible for anything, any death that has occurred in the execution of the drug war,” Duterte said.

‘I have no problem’

“If you get killed it’s because I’m enraged by drugs,” the tough-talking president said. “If that’s what I’m saying, bring me to court to be imprisoned. Fine, I have no problem. If I serve my country by going to jail, gladly.”

At least two complaints for crimes against humanity and mass murder in connection with Duterte’s campaign are being examined by an International Criminal Court prosecutor, who will determine whether there is enough evidence to open a full-scale investigation.

Duterte responded to the complaints by withdrawing the Philippines from the world tribunal two years ago in a move that human rights groups said was a major setback in the country’s battle against impunity. The ICC prosecutor has said the examination into the drug killings would continue despite the Philippine withdrawal.

Duterte asked Monday when did “drugs become humanity?”

Says drugs a security threat

He framed his remarks by portraying the drug menace as a national security and public threat like the decades-long communist insurgency that the government is obligated to quell.

“If this is allowed to go on and on and if no decisive action is taken against them, it will endanger the security of the state,” said Duterte, a former government prosecutor.

“When you save your country from the perdition of the people like the NPAs and drugs, you are doing a sacred duty,” he said, referring to communist New People’s Army insurgents.

There are 1.6 million drug addicts in the Philippines, Duterte said, citing statistics from an anti-narcotics agency. The figure is much smaller than the 4 million addicts that he cited the police as reporting early in his presidency to justify his crackdown.

Police have reported at least 5,856 drug suspects have been killed in raids and more than 256,000 others arrested since the start of the crackdown. Human rights groups have accused authorities of considerably under reporting the deaths.

Duterte said drug killings that did not happen during police operations should not be blamed on him, adding those deaths may have been set off by gang rivalries or settling of scores.

There have been widespread suspicions of extrajudicial killings in the crackdown, allegations that Duterte and the police deny. In 2018, a court convicted three police officers of murdering a 17-year-old student after witnesses and a security video disproved their claim that the suspect was shot after violently resisting, a common reason cited by police officers after drug suspects are killed.

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Australian nun who angered Duterte forced to leave Philippines

An Australian nun who angered the Philippine president by joining anti-government protests has called on Filipinos to unite and fight human rights abuses ahead of her forced departure from the country.

Sister Patricia Anne Fox is set to leave the Philippines on Saturday for Australia after the Bureau of Immigration ordered her deported months ago and downgraded her missionary visa to a temporary visitor's visa, which expires Saturday.

During a farewell news conference Saturday, the 71-year-old Fox called on Filipinos to speak up and help the marginalized fight to gain land, houses and jobs.

She told The Associated Press that Rodrigo Duterte's deadly anti-drug crackdown was "horribly barbaric" and vowed to return if allowed to resume her 27 years of missionary work for the poor.

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Duterte tells Philippines police not to cooperate with probes into drug war

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered police and soldiers not to cooperate in any investigation into his bloody war on drugs, amid international calls for an external probe.

Western countries and rights groups have expressed alarm over the killing by police of more than 4,000 Filipinos since Duterte took office in June 2016, plus hundreds more killings of drug users by unknown gunmen.

“When it comes to human rights, or whoever rapporteur it is, my order to you: Do not answer. Do not bother,” Duterte said in a speech before elite armed police units in his home city of Davao late Thursday.

‘And who are you to interfere in the way I would run my country?’– Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte

“And who are you to interfere in the way I would run my country? You know very well that we are being swallowed by drugs,” Duterte added.

The Philippines on Tuesday welcomed a United Nations investigation into Duterte’s signature anti-narcotics campaign, but not if it is conducted by the current UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings, Agnes Callamard, who Manila has accused of bias and of not being qualified.

An International Criminal Court prosecutor has opened a preliminary examination into a complaint accusing Duterte and top officials of crimes against humanity in the anti-drugs campaign. Duterte says he welcomes that and is willing to “rot in jail” to protect Filipinos.

Human rights advocates have said many of the police killings in the drugs war have been executions. Police deny the allegations, saying they had to use deadly force because the suspects were armed and had resisted arrest.

Despite criticism of the Philippine leader’s bloody anti-narcotics campaign, Duterte remains wildly popular and is the country’s most trusted public official, according to opinion polls.

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