Duterte says he could be responsible for drug war deaths
File photo shows people lighting candles to protest drug war killings.
The STAR/Miguel de Guzman, File
Duterte says he could be responsible for drug war deaths
Alexis Romero (Philstar.com) - October 20, 2020 - 6:46pm

MANILA, Philippines  — While he has claimed to have never killed anyone or had any person killed, President Duterte said he could be held responsible for deaths related to his campaign against illegal drugs but insisted that he should not be blamed for unexplained killings.

Duterte said he does not mind facing the court and going to jail because of the crackdown on narcotics, which has so far left more than 6,000 drug suspects dead, based on police data.

"If there are deaths, I said... you can hold me responsible for anything, any death that has occurred in the execution of the drug war. But do not blame me for deaths whose perpetrators are not known," the president said in his televised public address.

"If you die, that's because I am angry with drugs. That's what I am saying. If you bring me to court or send me to jail, fine, I have no problem. If I serve my country by going to jail, gladly," he added.

While he is open to facing charges, Duterte said he should not be accused of committing a "crime against humanity."

"Kailan pa naging humanity itong p***** i**** mga drug na ito? (Since when did these sons of b****** become part of humanity?)," the president said.

Duterte said some of the deaths blamed on the drug crackdown may just be "random killings" or may have been motivated by rivalry, debts, and money issues related to narcotics trade transactions.

"It could be hatred and something else. It could be a fight over a woman," the president said.

Citing a 2019 report by the Dangerous Drugs Board, Duterte said "about 167 million or two out of 100" Filipinos aged 10 to 69 are using illegal drugs. Presidential spokesman Harry Roque clarified Tuesday that the figure was just 1.67 million.

"In the past, during the time of (senator and former police chief Ronald) dela Rosa, it reached four million. And how much has been reduced in the use of shabu? I really do not know until now. But we are still in the thick of the fight against shabu," Duterte said.

Duterte justified his controversial war on narcotics, saying the health and the welfare of the people are "really the paramount concern." He advised parents to supervise and check on their children so their children would not be addicted to drugs.

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