SAYING he has zero tolerance for illegal drugs, President-elect Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday warned mayors involved in illegal drug operations he would kill those who would ruin children’s lives.
Speaking at the end of a two day Economic Forum in Davao City, Duterte gave a hint on how he will implement his campaign to stop drugs and criminality, beginning with the deployment of a “company of policemen” who will be given “special” assignments by him.
“If you destroy my children, I will kill you,” Duterte declared during an hour-long speech.
“I have zero tolerance on drugs and criminality. I would never preside over the affairs of the country with a corrupt police and [with]drugs abound destroying the lives of Filipinos,” he said.
The incoming President particularly lashed at 32 elected mayors who, according to him, are known to be involved in illegal drug operations. He did not name them but warned that he knew all of them.
“[For] mayors who are into drugs, I will catch up with you. When I meet you in one corner… I warn you,” Duterte said.
The President-elect claimed that if nothing is done to curb the problem of illegal drugs, the country is very likely to become a “narco” state.
“The youth are affected, you have crossed the red line… If [we]do not do something with the situation, seven years from now this country will become [embroiled in]narco politics.
There are mayors who are backers of drugs. There are 32 who won the elections because of drug money,” he pointed out, apparently referring to the May 9 polls.
“Watch out. As long as I’m in government, I will not allow it,” Duterte said.
He took a swipe at Commission on Human Rights Chairman Chito Gascon, who was critical of Duterte’s “deadly methods.”
“Tell Gascon I will not follow him… If they kill upon my orders, that is mine,” Duterte said, adding that if his men will be subpoenaed by the Office of the Ombudsman or any investigating body, they may refuse it.
“You tell the Ombudsman to instead send the subpoena to Duterte,” he quipped.
He said he will order a massive revamp of the Philippine National Police and that he will personally handpick those who will compose the company-sized police unit that he will tap for the anti criminality drive.
“Mine is to promote peace and for the people to be comfortable. The children will have the streets back to them. Just give me the luxury of time,” the incoming President added.
Along with his campaign against illegal drugs, the President-elect said he will also stop graft and corruption.
“Corruption must stop. Now. Ayoko talaga sa [I really hate] corruption, it makes me sick,” he added.
Duterte said he will not hesitate to do full battle with the Abu Sayyaf Group, which recently beheaded two Canadians.
“This Abu Sayyaf, just give me the luxury of time. I cannot do it immediately. There are things that I need which we don’t have now,” he said. “There will be a reckoning and when it comes, I would just say surrender unconditionally, release all prisoners, hostages, or we will fight.”
Duterte said he wants to get the support of Muslim rebel groups and the assurance that they are not helping the terrorist group.
“I have to have a firm commitment from our brothers Moro about the continuity of the talks,” he added.
“As soon as I get that guarantee [that your intention is really]peaceful and that you are not protecting terrorists, then when I have it in my hands, I will be ready to confront [the Abu Sayyaf]. Tapusin na talaga natin [Let us finish them off],” Duterte said.
He reiterated his hopes to unify the country under his administration.
“My dream is really that one day all Filipinos would just say Filipinos and we do not at all mention [if]he’s Left or Right, he’s a Moro rebel or a Moro terrorist, and he can live in peace,” he added.
“I have six years to do it.”
WITH CATHERINE S. VALENTE