MANILA, Philippines — Killing criminals is not a crime against humanity because they have no humanity.
This was President Rodrigo Duterte’s response to the report of New York-based Human Rights Watch which claimed that the Philippines is in the midst of a “human rights calamity” because of the extrajudicial killings of suspected drug offenders.
“When you kill criminals that is not a crime against humanity. The criminals have no humanity. God damn it,” the president told reporters during the groundbreaking of the Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway.
Unfazed by critics who blame him for the deaths of drug suspects, Duterte said the killings would not stop as long as there are drug lords and pushers.
“Marami pang patayan to. Lumalaban talaga yan. (There will be many more killings. They are really fighting). It will not end tomorrow for as long as there is a drug pusher and drug lord,” Duterte said.
“Lahat naman sila lumaban. Yung hindi lumaban sa gobyerno hindi amin yun. Baka pari ang kalaban nila (All of them fought. Those who did not fight the government, we are not responsible for them. Maybe their enemies are the priests),” he added.
“Yung namatay (Those who died) during encounters, of course, I answer for them, I hold myself legally responsible.”
Duterte said there is a difference between killing an innocent person and killing a criminal.
“They ought not to be mixed up... I’m trying to zero in on law and order because peace is what makes a country developed and progressive. I hold it as an article of faith,” he said.
To support his claim that the narcotics problem in the country is serious, Duterte said about 6,000 policemen and 40 percent of barangay captains in the country are into illegal drugs.
Duterte lamented that the killing of suspected drug offenders was presented melodramatically and “played up” by the media.
“This won’t stop if we don’t get rid of the apparatus,” he said. “Who wants to kill people?”
Duterte assailed the Catholic Church again for criticizing the spate of killings tied to his war on drugs. He claimed that the Church has not been transparent on the funds it collected from parishioners.
“Where is the money of the faithful?” the president said during the oath taking of the officials of the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Lapu-Lapu City.
“Sige yaw yaw mga pari, wala naman kayong ginagawa (You keep on talking but you do nothing),” he added. “When were you really true to your vocation?”
Duterte said he would order every precinct commander all over the country to provide the priests a list of persons who are involved in drugs. He also claimed that the destruction of some churches in the country was a message from God.
“You know why God destroyed the churches? To show you that you are not deserving of his mercy,” he said.
Duterte reiterated that he does not intend to declare martial law and to suspend the privilege of writ of habeas of corpus to address the drug problem.
“I took my oath of office. The Constitution says there is martial law, law and order, It’s all here. They are all in my hands. My oath before God and country is to preserve the Filipino people period,” Duterte said.
“I do not need martial law. I do not need to declare a suspension of habeas corpus, you destroy my country, you destroy the youth, I don’t give a s***.”