Nobody wants to kill innocents â Duterte

Militant groups and relatives of victims of the anti-drug war light candles during a rally in front of the PNP headquarters in Quezon City yesterday. MIGUEL DE GUZMAN

Nobody wants to kill innocents – Duterte
Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) - August 23, 2017 - 4:00pm

Rody warns abusive cops

STO. TOMAS, Batangas, Philippines – The killing of Kian Loyd delos Santos, the 17-year-old student accused of being a drug runner, was not done in performance of police duty, President Duterte said yesterday, as he warned law enforcers that he would not condone the killing of innocents.

“Nobody wants to kill innocent persons,” Duterte said.

He clarified that while he has ordered government forces to destroy the drug apparatus in the country, it does not sanction murder and other criminal acts.

“I’m not justifying what happened in Caloocan. That is really bad. Hindi naman in the performance of duty yung ganoon (That was not done in the performance of duty). Do not commit a crime,” the President said during the inauguration of a Solar Philippines factory here.

“What I reminded the military and the police is that it should be in the performance of duty. You are not allowed to kill a person kneeling down, begging for his life. That is murder,” he added.

Delos Santos died in an anti-drug raid in Caloocan City last Wednesday, days after Duterte encouraged policemen to kill more drug offenders.

Policemen claimed that Delos Santos had fired at arresting officers, forcing them to shoot him dead. 

But witnesses claimed that law enforcers had beaten up Delos Santos, handed him a gun, asked him to run before executing him.

Closed-circuit television camera footage also showed policemen dragging Delos Santos, contradicting the claim that he resisted arrest. 

Delos Santos’ death has sparked outrage among both allies and critics of Duterte and raised questions on the manner the crackdown on drugs is being enforced. 

Duterte said he has asked Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa to arrest the policemen involved in the killing of Delos Santos. 

He clarified that while he promised protection for policemen running after drug syndicates, it does not cover those who break the law.  

“Let us be clear on this. I said I would protect those who are doing their duty. I never promised to protect those who are supposedly engaging in doing their duty but committing a crime. In the first place that cannot be done,” Duterte said. 

The tough-talking leader said the policemen who are into criminal acts like kidnapping deserve to die. 

“These policemen are the ones who should die. I told the policemen kill them or I will kill you,” Duterte said. 

Duterte said the shooting of suspects is justified if they pose danger to the lives of policemen or if they resist arrest. 

“When you are a criminal and there is a police, the duty of the police is to arrest you, confront you and invite you to the station for questioning…The duty of a criminal, whether brave or not, is to surrender to authorities,” he said. 

“The police is just doing his duty and he is not supposed to die doing his duty. If you resist, he must overcome the resistance.”

Despite criticisms that he is encouraging extrajudicial killings, Duterte said he would not go slow on his war on illegal drugs. 

“You want me to change? No. Will I be destroyed? Yes. Will I be impeached? Correct, I can be impeached. If you want you can shoot me but I will not change my policy. There will be war on drugs because I have to protect the people,” he said.

Unicef expresses concern

Meanwhile, the United Nations has expressed concern over the impact of the government’s drug war on Filipino children.

Lotta Sylwander, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) country representative, said the circumstances surrounding the death of Delos Santos are disturbing. 

“The UNICEF shares the grief of Kian’s family and of all the families of children who have been killed as well as of children who have lost parents, caregivers and relatives in the anti-drug operations,” Sylwander said yesterday.

The agency called for a fair and transparent investigation into Kian’s death as a matter of urgency. 

“This investigation must be undertaken in a manner that seeks to guarantee the best interest of children and promote respect for their rights,” Sylwander said.

She said the Philippines, as a party to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, has a legal and moral obligation to promote, protect and fulfill the rights of every child. 

The UNICEF joined various organizations and individuals in calling for action to prevent any further loss of children’s lives. – With Pia Lee-Brago

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