President to Ombudsman: I said kill criminals, not people
President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday told Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales to “shut up,” days after she criticized on Japanese television his brutal approach to the Philippines’ illegal drug problem.
The Office of the Ombudsman responded with a brief statement, saying Morales was “amused by so much ado about something she did not say.”
She, however, stood by her remarks in her interview on NHK World on Thursday night, the statement said.
Answering a question from NHK, Morales said “the directive to kill people, under any situation, irrespective of the context, to me that’s not acceptable.”
The statement angered Mr. Duterte, who frequently tells police carrying out his take-no-prisoners war on drugs to kill drug users or pushers who would resist arrest
Speaking at the mass oath-taking of his appointees in Malacañang, Mr. Duterte blasted Morales for saying he was “goading” authorities to kill people.
Mr. Duterte said he never said “kill people” but “kill criminals.”
He said that when he was mayor of Davao City, he warned criminals not to destroy his city or the youth there or “I will kill you.”
“Ombudsman Morales, find me a law which says I cannot threaten criminals with death. Find me a law which would bar me from saying, ‘I will destroy you if you destroy my country,’” he said.
“[I]f you can do that, I will step down tomorrow. Just give me that [law],” he added.
In its response, the Office of the Ombudsman saw a need to correct Mr. Duterte’s misunderstanding of Morales’ view of his threats.
She didn’t say that
“She did not say anything about any law against threatening criminals. The President should review what she said first,” the statement said.
“The Ombudsman does not find it necessary to say anything more,” it said.
Mr. Duterte said Morales should stop criticizing his war on drugs.
“Since when did you anoint yourself as the spokesperson for the criminals? You talk too much,” he said.
The illegal drug problem is back in jails, he said. Inmates “are destroying their lives while in prison,” he added.
Mr. Duterte also told Morales to clean her own house.
“You think you are all saints there. Do not play God and shut up,” he said.
He reiterated his demand that Morales produce a law that prohibited threatening criminals, reminding her that she is a lawyer and once a justice of the Supreme Court.
He said he did not want to say anything more, as Morales’ nephew was his son-in-law.
Morales’ nephew Manases Carpio is married to Mr. Duterte’s daughter Sara.
Mr. Duterte told Morales that she did not know his problems, as he cited the government’s losses in the battle to retake Marawi City from Islamic State-inspired terrorists.
He also also asked Morales not to play hero or be like former US President Barack Obama, whom he had tangled with early in his presidency for criticizing his war on drugs.
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