Duterte slams critics of his war on drugs
NAYPYITAW, Burma (Myanmar)—President Duterte blasted his political opponents criticizing his bloody war on drugs and rebuked Vice President Leni Robredo whom he said could not wait to take over from him.
During an hourlong speech on Sunday night to around 200 Filipinos at Horizon Lake View Resort shortly after his arrival for a two-day visit, Mr. Duterte mocked Robredo and Senators Antonio Trillanes IV and Leila de Lima for attempting to use the high death toll in the drug campaign to discredit his administration.
“Leni is too much in a hurry to become President,” Mr. Duterte said, to howls of laughter from the crowd.
In a video sent to the United Nations last week, Robredo said some 7,000 Filipinos had been killed in summary executions in the war on drugs.
Her remarks have sparked indignation among the President’s supporters, who point out that police figures showed that 2,500 have been killed in police operations and the rest in vigilante incidents and murders under investigation.
In his speech, the President also slammed European lawmakers for adopting a resolution last week condemning “the
high number of extrajudicial killings” in the drug war.
“I don’t get these crazies. Why are you trying to impose on us? Why don’t you mind your own business,” he said. “Why do you have to fuck with us, God damn it.”
Mr. Duterte called Trillanes a “barking dog,” an “idiot” and a “coward” for a “mutiny” attempt in a Makati City hotel during the Arroyo administration.
“It didn’t even lead to a gunfight. Not one shot was fired,” he said.
Trillanes has also been a vocal critic of alleged human rights violations under the Duterte administration, and has even accused the President of amassing billions of pesos in unexplained bank accounts.
“You’ve seen his behavior. It’s kind of like De Lima’s,” Duterte said, again to laughter from the crowd.
De Lima, a Duterte critic since his time as Davao City mayor, is detained on illegal drugs charges, based on testimonies by convicts in New Bilibid Prison.
“She’s saying she’s a political prisoner? Since when? When have I had the opposition jailed? That’s the tragedy in our country. It was the secretary of justice herself running, trafficking drugs,” Mr. Duterte said.
“So the talk that there’s a lot of people getting killed in the war on drugs? It’s true. I’m not denying it to the world,” he said.
“But my only orders to the police were to go out and arrest them. Get them all. If they don’t want to be arrested and they fight back and there is violent resistance, and if you think you will die, shoot the idiot,” Mr. Duterte said.
The President made the statements in an apparent bid to assuage any fears of overseas Filipinos about the safety of their families in the Philippines.
Olivia Ramos de Guzman, a Filipino community leader in Burma said, “Our main concern really is that of our family, making sure that our families are in a safer environment.”
“The best thing really is if you want the truth, go home and find out what’s happening in our country,” Mr. Duterte said.
“You can go out and walk in the streets. It will be peaceful. Your children can go out, and your sisters and brothers, and they will be safe,” he added.
Expression of rage
In an interview with reporters later, he said: “For the life of me, I cannot imagine giving an order killing people who are innocent, or even a criminal on bended knees or with outstretched hands in surrender.”
Mr. Duterte explained that when he mentioned killings, it was just an expression of his rage against the narcotics scourge.
“I never ordered anybody in private or in public (to kill) … that is just a rage in my heart,” the President said.
In his speeches, he explained, he made such threats to kill as a “hyperbolic device to show my anger for drugs and what these had done to my country.”