An unfazed President Rodrigo Duterte said he was not cowed by allegations that he was violating human rights, even threatening critics of his controversial war on drugs with beheading, in his usual manner of speaking around local media.
This came shortly after he rejected aid from the European Union (EU), which previously expressed concerns over human rights violations and extrajudicial killings.
In a speech during the inauguration of a bridge in Tagum City, Davao del Norte on Thursday, Duterte urged the public not to believe human rights advocates critical of his war on drugs.
“If you know better, huwag ka talagang magkumpiyansa diyan sa human rights na ‘yan kay pati ‘yan sabayin ko kayong putulan ng ulo [If you know better, you will not be complacent when it comes to human rights. I will take all your heads off],” the President said.
“Hindi ako madala ng ganung takot, e ikulong mo ako e ‘di ikulong mo ako. Kung sabihin nila dapat akong makulong, okay, fine [I will not be intimidated by that kind of fear. If they want to throw me in jail, then throw me in jail, okay, fine]. I’ll pay the price. But do not f*** with the Filipino families,” he added.
Duterte then reiterated that he would continue to fight illegal drugs even if it meant seeing more people killed.
“Iwasan talaga ninyo. Ito three years halos ubos na ‘yan. May namamatay sabihin mo lang 100 a day, meron. Kung sinong pumapatay ay ewan ko, ayaw kong malaman [Avoid this completely. In three years, it will mostly be gone. People will die, and if you say 100 a day, that will happen. Who is doing the killing, I don’t know, I don’t want to know],” he said.
According to the President, there had been 77,000 drug-connected homicide and murder cases over the past several years. Drug suspects often got away with their crimes because their lawyers insisted they were not in the right state of mind, he said.
“Then human rights advocates would say, 10,000? Son of a whore, make that 50,000. I will really finish them off. And even if I go to hell, I can rot in prison. I do not mind. I am old,” Duterte said.
Malacañang announced on Thursday the Philippine government had rejected assistance from the EU to stop the bloc from interfering with Duterte’s policies.
The EU has been vocal over the rising number of deaths in the Philippines in connection with Duterte’s anti-drug war.
Duterte has repeatedly lambasted the European Parliament, saying it was not aware of the extent of the drug menace in the country.
During Thursday’s Palace news conference, presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said Duterte had approved the recommendation of the Department of Finance to reject new EU grants that “may allow it to interfere with the internal policies of the Philippines.”