Duterte admires Donald Trump for ‘telling truth’ on drug menace
Christina Mendez (The Philippine Star) - March 2, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — United States President Donald Trump was right when he declared that there is no drug problem in the Philippines because “they kill them,” President Duterte said last night, reaffirming a mutual admiration between the two leaders. 

“Tama ka talaga (You’re really right), Trump… Bilib ako sa’yo. Nagsasabi ka ng totoo (I admire you. You’re telling the truth),” Duterte said at the Opening Ceremony of the National Special Weapon and Tactics (SWAT) Challenge at the Team Davao Inc. Pistol and Rifle Range in Davao City last night.

Duterte said the shooting of drug lords and dependents, who fight it out with law enforcers, is justified since they resist arrest.

“Bakit kung lumaban ka, hindi kita papatayin? ‘Yan nga ang gusto ko, eh (Why won’t I kill you if you fight back? That’s what I like),” he said. “Mas gusto kong lumaban ka, kasi itong mga sundalo ko mga pulis (I prefer that you fight back, because my soldiers are the police)…” 

The President was amused by news reports quoting Trump as saying he would like to follow Duterte “because they have no (drug) problem in the Philippines. They just kill them.” 

 Duterte made the remark during the SWAT national challenge while he defended before police officers his administration’s drug war, which faced heavy criticisms from international human rights groups and other countries.

While there were lawmakers and agencies that condemned Duterte’s drug war, the President noted that Trump has declared a national emergency over opium use.

Trump also had good words for Duterte when he visited Manila last year for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit.  

When Duterte won the presidency, Trump also called him to personally convey his congratulations and commended him for his drug war which came in the wake of criticism from other countries and institutions like the European Union.

At one point, Duterte mocked some critics of the police’s tokhang operations claiming some US enforcers also opt to implement the same strategy.

 “Tokhang, they were able to capture a website involved in drug operations.  When they are the ones doing it, it’s okay. When we are doing it, being implemented by Gen. Bato, its not okay,” the President said, referring to Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa, fondly known as “Bato.”

 Duterte noted that with over 7,000 people killings attributed to his directive to stamp out the drug menace since he assumed office in 2016, memorial parks would have teemed with burial requests.

 But Duterte said the burial sites remain open that a person can even buy four memorial lots at a time.

 The Chief Executive, however, maintained that he has a moral obligation to fight the drug menace, especially because he is mandated by law to protect the nation.

“Drugs (can) destroy the nation and the human rights do not understand this. They are only concerned about the rights of the (criminals),” Duterte said.

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