Duterte vows to protect cops who kill criminals

Robertzon Ramirez - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Yes, presidential aspirant and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte will protect policemen accused of human rights violations for killing criminals if he is elected president. 

In an interview over radio dzMM on Wednesday afternoon, Duterte said that he will provide legal and financial assistance to police officers who would be charged with human rights violation cases after killing criminals while on duty.

Duterte added that he would provide a lawyer and allowance to the relatives of the policeman who will be suspended due to the charges to help the family buy their needs.

He said that police officers usually face human rights violation charges after they have killed criminals in an encounter while on duty.

“Hindi ako papayag sa Davao diyan (I won’t allow that in Davao), when they are charged and they are prosecuted, eventually in court then sa fiscal, I provide a lawyer, ako ang magbibigay ng (I will give) allowance nila,” Duterte said.

“Every police who did something wrong… if at all, but duty connected or in the performance of duty, I back them up,” he added.

Duterte also said he would allow policemen to kill criminals should he win in the 2016 elections, but warned erring police officers that they would “go first” should they commit wrongdoings. 

“Sinasabi ko sa mga pulis, pag gumawa kayo ng masama, mauuna talaga kayo (I told policemen that if they do something bad, they will be the first to go). You have to go first,” he said.

When asked if he has killed erring policemen, Duterte said: “May tatlong pulis (there are three policemen), the latest was about four months ago, patay (dead).” He, however, did not directly respond to the question if he was the one who killed the police officers.

“Patay,” he said, when asked if he killed the police.

Despite his stance in allowing policemen to kill criminals, Duterte said he does not want extrajudicial killings with the hands of suspects tied and their backs to the law enforcers.

Duterte said he would tell the policemen to ask the criminals to resist when they are arrested so that they would apparently have a reason to silence them.

Tough-talking Duterte is the recent top choice based on opinion surveys recently conducted in the National Capital Region (NCR).

He said that his style of leadership in Davao may probably lead him to the top post, but asked the public to consider other presidential candidates first before him.

CHR case

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) admitted that the previous human rights violation case filed against Duterte did not prosper in court despite his admission on killing criminals in Davao City.

CHR spokesman Banuar Falcon told The STAR that the commission had recommended administrative charges against Duterte and criminal charges against Davao policemen before the Office of the Ombudsman in connection the alleged Davao Death Squad (DDS) that was accused of killing suspected drug dealers and other criminals in Davao City.

Falcon explained that an administrative case was recommended against Duterte, as he allegedly neglected to perform his duty to prosecute the DDS members after several investigations were conducted in 2009 to 2010.

He explained that only an administrative case was recommended as they failed to present evidence that would link Duterte to the DDS.

“We did trials, but no case prospered,” Falcon said.

He said the ombudsman eventually dismissed the administrative case against Duterte while the criminal charges against the policemen went to trial but were later dismissed by the Court of Appeals.

Falcon explained that the court cited that “statistical crime incidence” in Davao could not be a basis in charging government officials.

The CHR only has recommendatory powers and has no authority to directly file charges against a government official accused of a crime.

The CHR has conducted an investigation over the alleged DDS when the United Nations special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions Philip Alston visited the Philippines in 2008 after receiving reports that more than 1,000 people had been killed between 1998 and 2008. – With Jess Diaz, Perseus Echeminada, Mike Frialde, Evelyn Macairan

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