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Leila warns Bato: Be careful with your statements

Former Justice Secretary and now Senator Leila De Lima, right, talks to Philippine National Police Chief Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa prior to the start of the Senate probe on the rising number of deaths related to President Rodrigo Duterte's "War on Drugs" Monday, Aug. 22, 2016 in Pasay City, Philippines.  AP/Bullit Marquez

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Leila de Lima reminded Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa to be wary of the statements that he makes against drug dealers and users.

During the Senate justice committee's inquiry on drug-related killings Tuesday, the senator cited a statement where the PNP chief issued a threat against drug suspects.

"Meron mga statements na attributed to you. You can always deny if you want to pero naririnig ko sa radyo o sa TV. For example, meron kayong statement 'Kung lumaban, patayin. Kung hindi lumaban, palabanin,'" De Lima told Dela Rosa.

The senator reminded Dela Rosa that such statements from him might imply that he is encouraging violence among police officers and drug suspects.

Dela Rosa, however, told De Lima that he was just threatening drug pushers but the senator asked him to refrain from making such remarks.

"Tinatakot ko lang po 'yung mga pusher," Dela Rosa said.

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"Pwede ho ba nating bawasan iyon kasi maaaring wala kayong intensyon na ganoon, that's not exactly what you mean that you're not really inspiring these killers to do that pero malay ninyo kung 'yun ang dating sa kanila," the senator said.

The PNP chief then thanked De Lima for reminding him against making threatening statements and vowed to lessen them.

De Lima warned Dela Rosa that threatening statements from him might be used as an evidence against him before the International Criminal Court (ICC).

"That's an admission, a public admission. I'm trying to help, mag-ingat lang tayo para hindi nami-misinterpret. The men on the ground may have different interpretation of your statements," De Lima said.

Human Rights Commissioner Chito Gascon earlier said that the ICC may assume jurisdiction over the extrajudicial killings in the Philippines if the government fails to address the issue. — Video edit by Efigenio Toledo IV

RELATED: Human Rights Watch: Drug killings demand accountability

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