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Honeylet claims Duterte could not order killing of people

Honeylet Avanceña said knowing President Rodrigo Duterte, he would never order killing. She was emotional as she defended the president. The couple are seen in this April 2017 photo waiting for Southeast Asian leaders to arrive for the ASEAN Summit in Manila. AFP/Mohd Rasfan, File

MANILA, Philippines — Cielito "Honeylet" Avanceña on Monday defended her partner, President Rodrigo Duterte, from accusations that he ordered the killings of thousands in the war on drugs.

An evidently emotional Avanceña, with whom the president has a 12-year-old daughter, said that knowing Duterte, he would not order the killings.

Honeylet defends Duterte on killings by philstarnews

"He will never instruct the PNP to kill people. It's not his style, it's not his cup of tea. He's a lawyer, he should know," Avanceña said at thelaunch of Philippine National Police's own drug rehabilitation program, Life After Tokhang or "LIFT."

"Puwede nang pabayaan na lang ng Pangulo ang mga problema tulad ng iba, tutal nanalo na siya pero hindi siya gano'n," Avanceña said.

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It saddens her that some Filipinos are not supportive of the president and even resort to harsh criticism.

She said that even Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, now a staunch critic of Duterte, was not someone the president picked a fight with. The senator has been linking Duterte to the Davao Death Squad, a group that operated there during his time as mayor to execute suspected criminals. Trillanes has also accused Duterte and his family of keeping questionable wealth.

"Trillanes has been hitting us since a week before elections. Pero bakit buhay pa siya? ‘Di ba, wala naman nangyayari?" Avanceña said.

Duterte's anti-illegal drug campaign in the country which started in July 2016 has claimed more than 12,000 lives, according to human rights groups. Police numbers, however, vary from monitors' estimates largely.

Avanceña's sentiments also run counter to Duterte's various speeches where he would threaten perceived wrongdoers and ask cops to shoot criminals in police operations.

READ: Duterte orders cops to kill 'idiots' violently resisting arrest | A year of consistent inconsistencies

"Not only just shouting at them to surrender, because if he does not, and he resists, and it is a violent one, placing in jeopardy the lives of my policemen, and of course, the military, you are free to kill the idiots," Duterte said late August 2017 addressing Chief Inspector Jovie Espenido whose stints in Albuera, Leyte and Ozamiz City led to the deaths of their mayors.

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales previously criticized Duterte's order to kill as "unacceptable." She said Duterte is "goading people to kill people" with his repeated statements that policemen and even ordinary citizens have his blessing to arm themselves and kill criminals who resist arrest and who put public lives in danger.

Human rights activists also slammed the president saying his statements are tantamount to giving cops license to indiscriminately kill suspected criminals without the benefit of a court hearing.

But Duterte insisted he can defend his statements even before Jesus Christ. — Video by Efigenio Toledo IV

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