PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte made a vigorous defense of his war on drugs, stressing that the killings of the suspects in the anti-narcotics campaign was a “destiny” to face death.
In a speech during the Anti-Corruption Summit staged by the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Pasay City on Tuesday night, Duterte said he was not surprised that people who resorted to “violent” acts “end up violently.”
“Pwede ninyo akong atakihin maski any other issue…Patayan, eh totoo naman ‘yan yata. May namamatay talaga (You can attack me of whatever or any other issue… [But] it is true that there’s killing. Some really died). It’s a destiny thing,” he said.
“So even if you are a professional or you are [an]undertaker, may-ari ka ng punerarya, mamamatay ka rin, you’re the owner of a mortuary, you will also die). So everybody. So it’s not surprising that those who go into a violent activity will always end up violently,” he added.
Duterte made the statement a day after Reuters released an investigative report detailing an alleged drug operation carried out by members of the Manila police in Barangay 19 in Manila.
On November 27, Reuters released footage from four security cameras showing several policemen in the morning of October 11, a day after Duterte released a memo stripping the police of control over the drug war.
On Monday, Palace spokesman Harry Roque reiterated that the President would not tolerate abuses by rogue policemen.
He said authorities were now authenticating security camera footage allegedly showing the summary execution of an alleged drug trafficker.
“I assure you that the authorities are now looking into this matter. We’re in the process also of authenticating the video,” Roque said.
“I assure you that the President will not tolerate any abuses that may be committed by some personnel of the PNP (Philippine National Police),” he added.
Duterte, who easily won the race to Malacañang last year on a brutal law-and-order platform, stoked international alarm over his administration’s anti-drug campaign.
Human rights watchdogs say most of the fatalities in the crackdown were extrajudicial killings committed by policemen—a claim that the government had vehemently denied by insisting that these were done in self-defense.