Duterte to troops: Be not afraid to kill drug traders, criminals
ZAMBOANGA CITY — Staying true to his moniker the “Punisher,” President Duterte told state forces here,on Thursday, not to be afraid in “executing” those behind the illegal drug trade and other crimes.
The President’s clear and unequivocal order to kill suspected drug traffickers came amid public outcry over the rash of deaths in police operations and vigilante-style killings.
“All those you are executing as I ordered, it’s on me. Mine and mine alone,” Mr. Duterte said in a 12-minute speech.
“Don’t be afraid (because) you might be charged. I take solace from my statement. I am there for you,” he said.
“This is what I have to say: Do your duty. If you are ordered for an operation against shabu (methamphetamine hydrochloride) and you face charges, I will be there. In the fulfillment of duty or in performance of your mandate, you will have my support 100 percent. I will not allow you to go to jail. I will be jailed first.”
Despite the assurance from the Commander in Chief, none of some 500 personnel from the police and various military units applauded his speech.
Behind closed doors at Camp Navarro, the President met here with senior military officials, led by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and Armed Forces Chief of Staff Ricardo Visaya.
“They say I’m the ‘Butcher of Davao.’ I was the only one executing criminals. Now it’s clear, see. Some 80,000 plus have surrendered (for their involvement in illegal drugs),” the President said.
In his speech, the President urged the police and military personnel to make their own sacrifice in winning the government’s war against illegal drugs and terrorism.
Despite the government’s limited resources, he assured them that their salaries would increase as he had promised during the campaign.
“I want to assure you everybody that you have a President who share with you the problems and blessings we get from the government and from the people of the Republic of the Philippines,” he said.
Mr. Duterte said the country was being put in bad light every time a foreign national was killed in the country.
“One day, we’ll just have to decide and one day we just have to say we’ll finish everything,” he said. SFM
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