Palace reacts to Duterte: Uphold the rule of law
MALACAÑANG reminded public officials of their duty to “uphold the law” following Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte’s televised admission that he was behind his city’s notorious vigilante group, the Davao Death Squad.
Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said it would be up to the Department of Justice “to do what needs to be done based on its mandate” in the wake of Duterte’s admission.
Coloma rejected suggestions that many Filipinos subscribed to Duterte’s approach to criminality because of poor law enforcement in the country.
“We believe that rule of law prevails in our country and it is the duty of the President as chief executive to enforce our laws,” he told reporters in Filipino.
“The principle we believe in is this: public servants should also enforce the law.”
In his weekly TV program, Duterte said it was “true” that he was behind the so-called Davao Death Squad, a vigilante group supposedly targeting criminals in his city.
He dared human rights groups to file a case against him, claiming he would expose their “stupidity” during cross-examination.
Duterte has been going around the country to supposedly promote federalism. But many observers see his visits as his way of preparing for his presidential run in 2016.
He warned that many people who “make the lives of Filipinos miserable” would die should he become president.
“I do not want to commit a crime. But if by chance God will place me there, be on guard,” he said in his program “Gikan sa Masa, Para sa Masa.”
Asked if the Palace found Duterte’s threat alarming, Coloma said: “We cannot condemn or make a judgment based on mere words.”
“What is important is that we stand by the principle that the rule of law should prevail,” he said. SFM/ABC
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