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Duterte: I am not a killer

“I am not a killer. I do not relish or enjoy (seeing) a Filipino sprawled there with all the blood,” the President said at the 2016 The Outstanding Young Men and Women awards at Malacañang. File photo

‘Philippines not in mummy business’

MANILA, Philippines - Despite more than 5,600 dead in his war on drugs, President Duterte insisted he is not the killer his critics portray him to be, as he expressed readiness to “sacrifice” for his mission to stamp out the scourge of illegal drugs.

Duterte, who has drawn flak for allegedly endorsing summary executions in his anti-drug campaign, also said he would shoot any policeman or soldier who would kill or torture innocent civilians.

“I am not a killer. I do not relish or enjoy (seeing) a Filipino sprawled there with all the blood,” the President said at the 2016 The Outstanding Young Men and Women awards at Malacañang.

“With regard to the killing of persons on bended knees, with hands tied behind their back, that’s not ours,” he added. “Will that make you a better soldier or policeman? If they do that, I’ll shoot them.”

Corpses found with the heads or bodies wrapped in plastic and packing tape – what he described as “balot-balot” – are not the handiwork of his government, he stressed.

“Hindi kami gumagawa ng mummy. Hindi ito Egypt (We don’t make mummies. This is not Egypt),” Duterte said.

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He said he is aware that not everyone approves of his tough stance on narcotics. He believes though that criticisms are part of the job.

President Duterte poses with 2016 TOYM officials (back row from left) Christopher Camba, Gloria Tan Climaco, Manny V. Pangilinan, Bienvenido Tantoco III, Rafael Dizon and Maria Isabel Manalo, and awardees (front row from left) Jhett Tolentino, Carmela Andal-Castro, Clarisse Delgado, Ryan Guinaran, Richard Heydarian, Geraldine Racaza, Ronivin Pagtakhan, Richard Muallil, Saturnino Tiamzon Jr. and Earl Martin Valencia at Malacañang yesterday. KRIZJOHN ROSALES

“I won’t hold back and abandon my job. Somebody has to be sacrificed for it. That’s OK with me. It’s part of the territory to be disliked,” the President said.

“I do not offer any excuses or apologies. I will answer God when I face him,” he added.

Some sectors have expressed concern over the conduct of Duterte’s war on criminality, saying it has encouraged human rights abuses and summary executions.

Duterte, however, maintained that his intensified campaign is necessary to curb the drug menace, which he said could transform the Philippines into a failed state.

“I cannot explain every death in this country. But if you tell me to hold back, I cannot because I cannot afford it. I cannot now stop the momentum with the four million drug addicts spread all throughout the country,” the President said.

The President has described torture and extrajudicial killings as a “dirty job” and “unmanly” and has reminded security forces to perform their operations “with honor.” He, however, believes the killings would stop if drug use stops.

“Madaming patayan daw, may salvaging, extrajudicial killings, gusto niyo mahinto ito? Simple lang. Hinto kayo lahat mga durugista (They say there have been a lot of killings, executions and extrajudicial killings. You want these to end? It’s simple. You drug users should stop),” Duterte said. “Stop it and there will be a peaceful New Year and Christmas.” 

Duterte claimed that he is still overwhelmed by the seriousness of the drug problem in the country.

“But I’d like to ask for an advice, what should I do? I want to cry. I think I can’t do it. I can’t handle that much. I now realized that about 15 years ago, 17 years ago, we were already a narco-politics country,” the President said.

The President earlier said that more than 2,000 government officials, local executives and barangay captains were involved in illegal drugs.

Duterte is hopeful that billionaires would support the government’s campaign against illegal drugs, just like Chinese real estate tycoon Huang Rulun, who financed the construction of a rehabilitation facility in Nueva Ecija.

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