Malacañang on Tuesday backed Justice Secretary Leila De Lima’s pronouncement on the possible filing of murder charges against Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte after he publicly admitted involvement in the activities of the Davao Death Squad (DDS) which human rights advocates blame for the spate of unsolved killings in the city.
Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said they will leave everything to the discretion of the Justice Department to look into such incidents and in filing appropriate cases.
He said however that whatever charges would be filed against the mayor should be supported by sold evidence, noting that President Benigno Aquino 3rd respects the rule of law.
“We believe that the rule of law is supreme in the country and it is the duty of the President to enforce all laws and we believe that this should also be the working principle of all public servants,” he said in Filipino.
Duterte in a television interview lashed back at his critics, particulary the US-based Human Rights Watch and asked them to visit his city and see how he “executes” felons.
Duterte said his idea of justice actually works because crime statistics in the city are usually low.
“If I become president you better hide. The 1,000 (people killed) will become 50,000. I will kill you all for making the life of the Filipino miserable,” Duterte said in the recent television interview.
Reacting to the mayor’s statement, De Lima on Monday said she was annoyed by such statement and disclosed that the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has in its custody a former member of the DDS who could serve as a witness against Duterte.