Duterte vows to finish war on drugs

Alexis Romero - The Philippine Star
Duterte vows to finish war on drugs
President Duterte, who recently vowed to launch a harsher war on illegal drugs, said people who earn money from narcotics should find another income source or they would lose their lives quickly.
AP / Bullit Marquez / File

MANILA, Philippines — Now is the most dangerous time to be involved in illegal drugs, President Duterte said, as he vowed to finish off narcotics syndicates because the country is going “insane.” 

Duterte, who recently vowed to launch a harsher war on illegal drugs, said people who earn money from narcotics should find another income source or they would lose their lives quickly. 

“This is the most dangerous time for anybody to be playing with drugs,” the President said during the distribution of grants to cash transfer beneficiaries in Cebu last Sunday. 

“Don’t ever enter into that. Those who haven’t tried it yet, don’t... You’ll earn money there quickly, but you’ll lose your life just as quick,” he added. 

Last week, Duterte said his war on illegal drugs would be bloodier as he promised to step up measures to prevent the country from becoming a failed state. He said he was ready to kill “anybody who stands in the way.”

Duterte reiterated that the illegal drugs menace is destroying the country and making families dysfunctional. 

“I’ll make it simple. I will finish you off because my nation is going insane. You know, you create so many social dysfunctions. When you enter into drugs, the head of the family becomes inutile,” the President said. 

“If you remain like that, I still have three years. I told you I will really finish the war against drugs in three years’ time,” he added. 

Duterte warned human rights advocates not to commit the “mistake” of interfering with his anti-drug crackdown. He said he was not afraid to be assassinated because of his campaign, which has left more than 5,000 people dead. 

“Don’t mess around with me. You do not scare me a bit. You scare people by killing people, that you will kill the President. Son of a b****, do you want us all to fire at each other at the same time?” he said. 

“It will make me very happy for things to reach an end. Don’t try to scare me about assassination. I will walk when I want to walk. When the time comes that I will no longer be able to walk on my own, I will tell God, ‘I am useless here. Kill me.’” 

Duterte also threatened to kill businessman Peter Lim, whom he accused of drug trafficking and money laundering. 

“I warned you on TV. I already warned you. That’s true. I will kill you,” the President said. 

“Do not show yourself to me. Find a hell where you can hide. Do not ever show yourself in the Philippines. I will finish you off,” he added.

Lim has denied involvement in illegal drugs. The Cebu-based trader has not been seen in public since last year. Last week, Duterte advised Lim to commit suicide or he would imprison him for 200 years. 

The drug trade was profiting from the International Criminal Court (ICC)’s “self-seeking” publicity that led to the Philippines’ withdrawal from the international tribunal, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said yesterday.

“But what triggered my unilateral withdrawal was embarrassment by threats from Manila to withdraw and the reasons for it. I don’t do empty threats nor abide stupid reasons. So I withdrew with only valid one: the drug trade was profiting from the ICC’s self-seeking publicity. Sad,” Locsin said on Twitter.

“It will change when the drug trade lets up its pressure on the Philippine government to give up its war on drugs and against terrorism, both of which we aim to destroy and never to accommodate in our society. A little patience,” he tweeted.

The Philippines withdrew from the ICC “effective immediately” in response to the ICC’s move in February 2018 to launch a preliminary examination of President Duterte’s “drug war” killings to determine whether to open a full-blown investigation.

The ICC is a court of last resort for the prosecution of serious international crimes, including genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. Its treaty, the Rome Statute, was adopted in July 1998. 

Human Rights Watch said 20 years after the Rome Statute, the ICC has made significant headway in bringing global attention to accountability. But it has faced setbacks, and as human rights crises marked by international crimes continue to proliferate, its mandate has proven to be both more needed and more daunting than its founders envisioned. To be effective, the court and its member-countries will need to rise to the challenge. 

ICC Watch posted a photo on Twitter of the notice of the Philippine government of its intention to withdraw from the ICC being officially received and read at the United Nations.– With Pia Lee-Brago

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