Ombudsman: Duterte threat to 'kill criminals' not illegal | Inquirer News

Ombudsman: Duterte threat to ‘kill criminals’ not illegal

/ 03:41 PM December 13, 2016

ombudsman, conchita carpio morales

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales at the Meet the Inquirer forum. TRISTAN TAMAYO

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales on Tuesday said it was not illegal for President Rodrigo Duterte to threaten to kill criminals in the administration’s crackdown on illegal drugs.

“It’s not illegal to say I will kill you,” Morales said during the Meet the Inquirer forum.


But Morales said it was a different story altogether if the president acted on his threat.


READ: Duterte sorry for all those caught in crossfire

But in so far as the threat is concerned, there is nothing illegal for the country’s highest official to make such threats, Morales said.

But Morales said she would rather not comment on “hypothetical” questions on whether Duterte may be held liable for the spate of extrajudicial killings of suspected drug pushers.

“If he steps down and we investigate the case, and we find that he committed a crime, he’ll already be stripped of immunity, then we will have him indicted in court,” Morales said matter-of-factly.

Morales said even if she made an “I will kill you” remark, she could not be held liable, and it would even sound rather “melodious.”

Does the law hold an official accountable for making such threats? Morales said: “If he says I will kill you? Under this context, (even) I’m not liable.”

But the President remains accountable for his policy on the war on drugs that has claimed thousands of lives, Morales said.


“He is accountable. He says very candidly that I will kill you,” Morales said.

“But whether he makes good of that intention, again, it’s a different story,” she added.

Morales said the office had received complaints involving alleged extrajudicial killings under the Duterte administration, and it planned to consolidate these under one case.

“There (are cases) recently filed (about) the alleged extrajudicial killings during the Duterte administration… They are still pending fact finding investigation,” Morales said.

READ: Duterte on criminals: ‘Kill all of them’

She said the office would look into Duterte’s liability over his kill remarks only when a complaint was filed before the anti-corruption body.

“It is the mandate of the Ombudsman to hold public officials accountable. But whether or not the statement of the President, ‘I will kill you,’ amounts to a crime, is something we have to ponder on, if a vehicle case is brought to us,” Morales said.

Morales said she would inhibit from the complaints involving Duterte, to whom she is related by marriage.

Morales is the sister of Lucas Carpio Jr., the husband of Court of Appeals Justice Agnes Reyes Carpio.

CA justice Carpio is the mother of Mans Carpio, the husband of Duterte’s daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte. This makes Morales the aunt of Mans Carpio.

“Of course, if you are a Christian and you hear those things, you are of course alarmed… But whether or not he will carry it out or he has carried it out, is a different story,” Morales said.

But Morales said it was “unpresidential” for Duterte to threaten to kill criminals.

Morales said she had never discussed with the President the spate of summary killings during the times she met with Duterte.

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“It would be presumptuous to raise matters to him. If he opens up, then I’ll say my piece. But without him opening up, I’ll keep mum, for me not to raise it, him being the president,” Morales said. CDG/RAM/rga

TAGS: Drugs, threat

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