Tell those in drugs watchlist to stop or they might get killed, Duterte tells rights advocates
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte lashed out again on Monday at human rights advocates who had been criticizing his war against illegal drugs, saying that they would be better off advising those in the drugs watchlist to stop their illegal activities or be killed.
Instead of threatening law enforcers with possible imprisonment and prosecution, human rights advocates should help educate people about the dangers of getting involved in the illegal drug trade, Duterte said in a pre-recorded briefing aired late Monday night.
He also vowed to send the rights groups – and possibly even the Commission on Human Rights — copies of briefers on illegal drug operations that supposedly present the magnitude of the country’s drug menace.
“Convince these people in the list to stop, because — tell them — you might die. That is the proper way of doing things instead of going after us, who are enforcing the law. Do not threaten us with imprisonment and investigation because you are trying to pin down an individual may be out of bigotry. But we are here trying to save a nation,” he said.
On the other hand, Duterte reminded law enforcers to make the decision to kill if they would be threatened by suspects. But he also mentioned that a lot of police officers had already died in several operations.
He noted that in some countries the mere act of reaching in a pocket for something might be enough to constitute resistance to arrest — and could justify being fired at by the police.
“Now, the police and even the military, I already said: Just follow the law. The only thing that you are really allowed to kill is when your life is in danger. But, my God, I have several police officers who already died. I don’t like that. I get angry with officers who die. I tell them: Why didn’t you shoot first?” Duterte said.
“You are the arresting officer. You must be prepared,” he added.
In the same briefing, Duterte said that he is also looking to get the military more involved in the drug war, as it is already a national security concern.
The drug war has been a central figure of Duterte’s campaign back in 2016, as he vowed to rid streets of drugs in three to six months. But as he allegedly discovered how big the country’s drug problem is, he chose to extend it, with drug operations seizing millions worth of illegal drugs continuing as of late.
A lot of activists and human rights defenders have condemned the Duterte administration for the bloody campaign.
Cases have been filed against Duterte before the International Criminal Court, regarding the supposed disregard for human rights in drug operations.
The international community has also denounced Duterte’s actions several times, with calls for the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to intervene in the country’s worsening rights status. But state-members only voted to extend assistance to the Philippines in the light of the administration’s assurance that they are taking the drug problem seriously.
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