Philippines president on drug war: ‘Can’t kill them all’ after 3,000 drug users, dealers killed

September 20, 2016 by  
Filed under newsletter-asia

Philippines, September 19, 2016: Philippines’ controversial President Rodrigo Duterte, who called on authorities and citizens to kill drug users and dealers on sight soon after assuming office less than three months ago, has sought a six-month extension for his war on drugs, which has already led to the death of more than 3,000 suspects, mostly by hacking.

“Even if I wanted to, I cannot kill them all,” Duterte said at a news conference in the southern city of Davao on Sunday, of his campaign promise to eradicate illegal drugs within six months, Agency France Presse reported.

Police say they have killed 1,105 drug suspects, and another 2,035 have been murdered by unknown assailants, according to human rights groups, as a result of his campaign promise to kill 100,000 people to deal with illegal drugs. The United States, the European Union parliament and the United Nations have strongly condemned Duterte’s approach to deal with the drug issue.

“I did not realize how severe and how serious the drug menace was in this republic until I became president,” said Duterte.

Soon after his election as president, Duterte urged citizens with guns to join the war agains drug dealers by killing them. “Please feel free to call us, the police, or do it yourself if you have the gun – you have my support,” he was quoted as saying at the time. In case citizens face any resistance and threats from a drug dealer, “you can kill him… Shoot him and I’ll give you a medal,” he added.

The Philippines is a Roman Catholic-majority country and the church does not approve of President Duterte’s call for violence.

Archbishop Socrates Villegas, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, issued a statement to be read in churches earlier. “I am a human being. That is all it takes for me to stand up and say ENOUGH. The humanity in me is hurting each time a fellow human is hurt. A portion of my humanity dies when a fellow human dies… Is not humanity going down to the dregs when bloodthirsty humans encourage the killers and ask for more blood?” the archbishop wrote.

Meanwhile, Edgar Matobato, a former Filipino militiaman, testified before the country’s Senate last week that Duterte, when he was still a city mayor, ordered him and other members of a liquidation squad to kill criminals and opponents in gangland-style assaults that left about 1,000 dead.

Matobato told the nationally televised Senate committee hearing that he heard Duterte order some of the killings, and acknowledged that he himself carried out about 50 deadly assaults as an assassin, including a suspected kidnapper fed to a crocodile in southern Davao del Sur province in 2007, according to The Star.

“Our job was to kill criminals like drug pushers, rapists, snatchers. These are the kind we killed every day,” Matobato was quoted as saying.

Earlier this month, U.S. President Barack Obama canceled a scheduled meeting with Duterte after the Philippines president reacted to Obama’s criticism and used abusive language.

“I am a president of a sovereign state and we have long ceased to be a colony,” Duterte had said, according to New York Daily News. “You must be respectful… I do not have any master except the Filipino people, nobody but nobody. You must be respectful. Do not just throw questions… Putang ina, I will swear at you in that forum.”

“Putang ina Tagalog” means “son of a bitch.”

“Obama will not be holding a bilateral meeting with President Duterte of the Philippines this afternoon,” Obama’s National Security Council spokesman Ned Price said in a statement. “Instead he will meet with President Park of the Republic of Korea.”

– christian post

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