President Rodrigo Duterte (Presidential Photographers Division)
MANILA (Philippines News Agency) – President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday night said he is not afraid of suffering the consequences of his administration’s anti-illegal drugs campaign, saying his administration is just doing what is right for the greater good.
Duterte rejected the remark made by former Senator Antonio Trillanes IV that he must be “trembling in fear” after International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor Fatou Bensouda’s office released a report saying there was “reasonable basis” to believe that he and his subordinates committed crimes against humanity in the drug war.
“‘Yang kay Trillanes, may ano siya statement. Natatakot daw ako. Hindi ako natatakot (Trillanes has a statement. He says I’m afraid. I’m not afraid),” he said in a late night public address.
He said he was ready to stand by his principles, insisting that his administration’s crackdown on the illegal narcotics trade is for the greater good.
“Ako, magpakamatay ako sa prinsipyo ko. Kung iyang prinsipyo ko na ‘yan ikamatay ko, okay ‘yan sa akin. Ipakulong ako habangbuhay, okay sa akin ‘yan. Ginagawa ko ang tama (I will die for my principles. If those principles will be the death of me, it’s fine by me. If I’m sentenced to life imprisonment, it’s fine as long as I did what was right),” he said.
While the ICC was looking into drug-related killings, Duterte emphasized that police officers were also casualties in the war on drugs.
He brought this up while reiterating his desire to bring back the use of “batuta’’ (cudgel) among law enforcers.
Duterte admitted that there were a few bad cops who are trigger happy and do not hesitate to shoot drug suspects.
However, he said that he never ordered state forces to shoot or kill anyone unless it was an act of self-defense.
“May mga pulis na talagang may ano sa — diretso salvage ganoon. Wala akong inutos na ganoon (Some cops go straight to killing. I never ordered that). Remember, in all of my utterances, ang galit ko ‘yan (when I’m angry) when I say, ‘Do not destroy my country, the Republic of the Philippines, who elected me as President. Do not destroy our sons and daughters because I will kill you.’ Hindi ko sinabi (I didn’t say), ‘They impede, they will kill you.’ The military will… I said, ‘I will kill you. Wala akong pinatay na tao (I didn’t kill anyone),” he said.
Duterte also renewed his commitment to support law enforcers charged with killing while in the line of duty.
“Sabi ko, ito (I said), ‘Go out and destroy the apparatus.’ Iyan. Pagka nagkabarilan diyan (If you end up shooting each other) in destroying the apparatus, goodbye ka (that’s goodbye). Kaya sabi ko, ‘Ako (That’s why I said ‘Me), I take full responsibility for my order.’ But remember, I said, ‘enforce the law in accordance with what you have learned then self-defense,’” he said.
Duterte also questioned Trillanes’ intelligence, asking him why he wasn’t elected as President if he felt he could do better than him.
“Trillanes, kung bright ka sa akin, kung mas marunong ka, ikaw na sana ang nagdadaldal dito, hindi ako. Iyan ang totoo (Trillanes, if you’re brighter than me, if you’re better, you should be talking here, not me. That’s the truth),” he said.
According to Duterte, members of the opposition were trying so hard to regain power by destroying his reputation.
“Painting the other guy black so that you would appear white. Iyan ang ginagawa nila. Pinipinturahan kami ng itim para bumango sila, maputi sila (That’s what they’re doing. They’re painting us black so they look good, they’re white),” he said.
Earlier, Malacañang expressed confidence that ICC judges will eventually decide against opening a preliminary investigation into the drug war.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque cited the principle of complementarity in which the ICC can only investigate crimes against humanity if local courts are unable or unwilling to do so. (PNA)