Duterte to use death penalty, militias in war vs drugs, major crimes
DAVAO CITY — Presumptive president-elect Rodrigo Duterte stressed on Monday that the death penalty must be re-imposed during his administration if he was to deliver the promised crackdown on criminality plaguing the country.
“I need it to combat crime and to deter it,” Duterte emphasized during a media conference, before meeting foreign dignitaries of Japan, Israel and China and several key personalities and well-wishers wanting a chance to talk to him at the Matina Enclave Condominium, here.
Duterte has made it clear that under his presidency, the war against drugs will start from barangay (village) level, where he said, drugs have proliferated due to inability of barangay (village) chairmen to suppress illegal drugs.
To fight drugs at the barangay level, Duterte said he would recruit militiamen similar to the Special Civilian Armed Auxiliary but they must have completed the basic Reserved Officer Training Course. It may include former soldiers who know how to handle guns and have experience in law enforcement.
He said the group would be under the supervision of the barangay captain but would still be required to report to the police precinct commanders.
“You dig deep in the culture of drugs and all of them have guns,” he said, adding “I am angry about that. I am angry at drug lords who are not addicts. Those who destroyed the lives of my people will be killed. Those who destroyed the lives of my children will be destroyed. Those who would kill my country will be killed. No middle ground, no apology.”
Duterte said he would be ready to lose the “presidency anytime. I can lose it anytime, I will stake my honor and my life (in the war against drugs). What I said, I will do it.”
Duterte, however, assured the public that minors involved in crimes, would not be arrested but their parents would be held legally liable for them and would be arrested.
“Police should not arrest minors. They don’t have the discernment. Arrest the parents instead. The barangay captains will direct the police where the parents live arrest them. If they fail, they will face neglect of duties. I will suspend you,” he said.
The death penalty was present in the country’s legal system from the Spanish colonial period to the martial law imposed in the 1970s during the dictatorship of President Ferdinand Marcos. It was prohibited under the 1987 Constitution ratified by Filipinos during the presidency of Corazon Aquino. However, it was restored by Congress during the presidency of Fidel V. Ramos for “heinous crimes.” Only two people were executed since then, during the presidency of Joseph Estrada. He subsequently suspended it on the advice of his spiritual adviser, Catholic archbishop Teodoro Bacani. In 2006, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who opposed the death penalty, announced the commutation of over 1,000 death sentences to life imprisonment. A law was later passed in Congress suspending the death penalty.
Duterte wants to restore the death penalty for drug-related crimes, rape, robbery, car-jacking, carnapping or vehicle robbery and plunder. SFM