Philippines’ notorious president, Rodrigo Duterte, has plainly stated he has no problem trampling on human rights in his war against drugs.
The newly elected leader reiterated his promise of giving amnesty to his soldiers for the “bloodbaths” of suspects in a speech on Sunday.
“I am not afraid of human rights (concerns.) I will not allow my country to go to the dogs,” Duterte said, vowing to pardon all abuses committed by security forces.
Amid calls for him to heed due process, Duterte said the families of individuals whom he had arrested could always go to the courts and seek redress.
“Why will I give you a (due) process? I am the president. I don't give you (due) process,” he added.
He also proudly proclaimed he would “retire with the reputation” of late Ugandan president Idi Amin, whose rule was marked by widescale abuses that killed 100,000 to 500,000 Ugandans, according to human rights groups’ estimates.
“I don’t care … I know that … I will retire with the reputation of Idi Amin,” Mr. Duterte said in his speech. “I don’t expect you to keep faith in me or to believe in me all the time but … God is there. I have never killed an innocent human being. Never. I don’t like it.”
“My paradigm is not like here in Manila … In Mindanao, people resort to killings. Why will I change what I know? It is serving the country well,” he added.
A toymaker puts finishing touches on toy figurines of President Rodrigo Duterte inside his workshop in Pasay city — Source: Reuters
A drug addict, wearing an election campaign wristband of Duterte, takes an oath not to use illegal substances again, after people voluntarily surrendered to the police — Source: Reuters
The police also unveiled plans for a large electronic billboard to be installed outside the Manila’s police headquarters that would “give everyday people... the accomplishments of their police” by running a tally of drug suspects who had been detained or “neutralized” during the crackdowns, said community relations chief Senior Superintendent Gilberto Cruz.
The billboard, ordered by Duterte, will be completed by September.
The new leader also revealed his intentions to ask Chinese authorities why some of their tourists who visited the Philippines were allegedly involved with drug cartels.
“That’s my lamentation,” he said in a video released by his office Monday. “One day I will ask China, Why is the situation like this? I won’t say why are you sending them, but why is it that most of the guys who come here do drugs, even inside jail?”
Bodies of alleged drug dealers wearing signs reading “I am a drug pusher” have been turning up in the streets of Metro Manila since the day Duterte assumed office.
Since he became president, more than 200 people reportedly have been killed in the operations.
The high death toll from the so-called “anti-drug” operations has also raised the concerns of human rights groups.