Duterte: I am not like Putin

Alexis Romero - Philstar.com
Duterte: I am not like Putin
In this Nov. 10, 2018 photo, President Rodrigo Duterte discusses matters with Russian President Vladimir Putin during their bilateral meeting at the Vinpearl Da Nang Resort and Villas in Da Nang City, Vietnam.
Presidential photo / Albert Alcain, File photo

MANILA, Philippines — He is facing complaints over his "drug war" and he once called Vladimir Putin his "idol," but President Rodrigo Duterte maintained that he is not like the Russian leader, whose invasion of Ukraine has drawn worldwide condemnation.

During his interview with his former spokesman and senatorial candidate Harry Roque aired Sunday night, Duterte acknowledged that he has a case before the International Criminal Court (ICC) in relation to his controversial anti-drug campaign.

He noted that Roque had criticized him over the crackdown but maintained that the former human rights lawyer and Palace spokesman was just telling the truth.

"I said, well, if you’re just telling the truth and nothing but the truth, what would be Roque's fault if he criticizes? It's true that I have a case," Duterte said.

Duterte, who has been accused by human rights groups of ordering the summary execution of drug offenders, then claimed that he is not like Putin.

"At ‘yung patay, baka nga totoo. So pero naman hindi naman ako kagaya kay Putin (The deaths may be true. But I am not like Putin)," the president said.

"Hindi naman ako nagpapatay ng mga bata, nagbobomba ako ng mga babae. (I did not order the killing of children, I do not bomb women)," he added.

Duterte has been accused of committing crimes against humanity over the deaths tied to his drug war before the ICC but officials insist that the President does not condone extrajudicial killings and other forms of human rights violations.

Malacañang has also claimed that the ICC has no jurisdiction over the issue since the Rome Statute, which created the ICC, did not meet publication requirements and therefore, did not take effect in the Philippines. The Duterte administration has also argued that the justice system in the Philippines is working so there is no need for the ICC to intervene in the investigation of the killings.

An ICC pre-trial chamber has allowed a probe into the killings tied to Duterte's drug crackdown. The Philippines has asked the ICC to defer the investigation, saying it is already acting on the deaths associated with the drug war. The ICC has granted the request but has vowed to continue analyzing information related to the campaign.

Duterte reiterated that he did not commit any crime when he threatened to kill those who destroy the country through narcotics.
"What will I do as a leader? Will I just allow my country (to) go into shambles?" he added.

Last month, Duterte cited the Ukraine conflict to justify his war on illegal drugs, saying Putin killed civilians while he killed criminals.

"Human rights, human rights, si Putin pinapatay pati sibilyan dun, ako sino ba pinatay ko? Pinatay ko puro kriminal. Bakit ko pinatay? Sa droga (They keep on talking about human righs. Putin killed civilians there. Who did I kill? They are all criminals. Why did I kill them? Because of drugs),"  Duterte said during the inauguration of a provincial capitol in Leyte last March 17. 

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