DAVAO CITY, Dec 28 (Mabuhay) — President Duterte has categorically denied he ordered authorities to just shoot and kill drug suspects even as he dismissed criticisms that those who died outside of police operations were victims of extra-judicial killings.
“Did I tell you to kill? I did not. I never said you should kill drug pushers,” Duterte said in a speech before village officials here on Tuesday.
He said he told policemen to make sure they were not harmed by drug-crazed pushers.
“If they put up a fight, then shoot them. But those being shot at the back, those wrapped in plastic, that’s not ours,” he said, referring to victims who had been summarily executed and were dumped in public places.
He said in police operations, pushers were getting killed because they had put up a fight.
“I have been telling you (authorities) don’t let them (drug suspects) outsmart you,” the President said in Visayan.
It was not the first time that Duterte denied ordering authorities to just kill drug suspects, although he underscored the need for them to stay alive during anti-drug operations.
He also pledged to stand by policemen or soldiers, who would face charges in line with the performance of their duties.
“All those you are executing as I ordered, it’s on me. Mine and mine alone,” he earlier said.
Duterte said authorities should not fear about the prospects of being jailed.
“Don’t be afraid (because) you might be charged. I take solace from my statement. I am there for you,” he said.
“This is what I have to say: Do your duty. If you are ordered for an operation against shabu (methamphetamine hydrochloride) and you face charges, I will be there. In the fulfillment of duty or in performance of your mandate, you will have my support 100 percent. I will not allow you to go to jail. I will be jailed first,” he added.
During his speech here on Tuesday, the President, however, said big-time pushers need not put up a fight.
“I’ll just call a priest to administer the last rites,” Duterte said, adding that he could not tolerate drugs.
“Like what happened in San Juan. They were lucky I was not (there). If there was that big haul of shabu, I will really kill you,” he said in between expletives, referring to the arrest of six suspects during the December 23 raid by agents of the National Bureau of Investigation and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) on a clandestine shabu laboratory in San Juan.
Duterte said if he was there, the suspects would have been killed.
“Let’s not resort to drama. I, myself, will shoot them if nobody would shoot them,” he said as he repeated his line that shabu has been destroying the future of the country’s youth.
Duterte also hit the US and the Catholic Church anew, saying they were only good at criticizing him and that they have actually not helped in so far as the war on drugs was concerned.
He also blasted the US for its “hypocrisy” over illegal drugs, saying it was staunchly against drug trafficking if the safety of its citizens were concerned. He cited as example the US’ invasion of Panama between mid-December 1989 and late January 1990 because the Noriega government was supposedly tolerating the illegal drug trade
“Panama was the original drug supplier of the US, not Mexico,” he said. (MNS)