Duterte: Marcos right about drug war ‘abuses’
ILIGAN CITY—Ex-President Rodrigo Duterte affirmed the observations of President Marcos that abuses were committed in the course of the former’s antidrug campaign.
“I am sure [that] if you read the context of the President’s speech, which I had already, tama siya (he is right),” Duterte said during his program “Gikan sa Masa, Para sa Masa” aired on SMNI News. But he said “I am not sure if he was quoted [by news reports] in the complete context of the statement. I am sure it was not intended to criticize [me] because he knows how hard it is to be President. He’s facing a serious problem right now.”
Duterte’s remarks were in response to a question from his former presidential spokesperson, Harry Roque, seeking his comment on Marcos’ statements made about his predecessor’s so-called war on drugs at a forum in Washington during his official visit to the United States last week.
“In my view, what had happened in the previous administration is that we focused very much on enforcement,” Marcos then said. “And because of that, it could be said that there were abuses by certain elements in the government and that has caused some concern with many quarters about the human rights situation in the Philippines.”
To this, the former President said: “Tama siya na (He is correct that) along the way, in the enforcement of the law, [there is] a rigid attitude towards the enforcement of the law, abuses will be committed.
“Now, I’ll go further, not only abuses, sometimes killing, unnecessarily, or even [of] an innocent person,” Duterte added. “Along the way, [there is] collateral damage, marami yan (there are many). But those were never intended, I am sure, by the law enforcement agency.” While in office, Duterte had tried to dodge a possible investigation by the International Criminal Court for alleged crimes against humanity. According to government figures, the antidrug crackdown that became the centerpiece of his six-year term resulted in more than 6,000 deaths. Human rights groups, however, placed the death toll at more than 20,000.Duterte again sought to justify the use of lethal force in the police operations, saying the officers had to “overcome the resistance” of the suspects being arrested.
“So what’s the point in empowering somebody if you do not give him enough leeway?” he said. “[There is] collateral damage in a shootout inside the house of a suspect; sometimes the innocent members of the family gets it. But abuses, there are many, because of the high-handed manner of enforcement,” Duterte admitted.