Duterte: Killing criminals not a sin vs Pinoys
Christina Mendez, Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) - March 15, 2017 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines -  He has never felt remorse for the death of thousands in his anti-drug war and is ready to accept his fate if charges are filed against him before the International Criminal Court (ICC), President Duterte said on Monday.

In a press briefing at Malacañang, Duterte stressed he was merely exercising his mandate to protect the country in his pursuit of a vicious war on drugs that has left thousands dead since he assumed power in July.

“Wala pa naman ako kasalanan sa Pilipino. Ano bang kasalanan ko sa inyo? Pagpatay ng kriminal? Ano pa? Anong ninakaw ko? Kasi nagtatrabaho lang ako, kung ayaw ninyo eh ‘di huwag (I did no wrong to Filipinos. What wrong have I done to you? Killing criminals? What else? I’m just doing my job, if you can’t take it, then go),” he said.

Stopping corruption and illegal drugs was his campaign promise, he emphasized.

“But I said I have to comply with my promise. There’s so much noise about this thing about extrajudicial killing – I’ve told you there’s none. Just ask any policeman here in Manila, ask him if I’ve ever ordered anyone down on his knees or about to surrender killed,” he said in Filipino.

At one point during the briefing, Duterte said he is undeterred by attacks from human rights groups. If criminals are undeterred by the death penalty, neither is he by the prospect of criminal liability that may arise from human rights issues.

“I will continue with… government will continue with its campaign,” he said.

On the prospect of facing the ICC based on testimonies before the Senate of two self-confessed members of the so-called Davao death squad, Duterte said he is “ready to face the music.”

He was referring to Edgar Matobato and former police officer Arturo Lascañas, who had linked him to several murders in Davao City when he was still mayor.

The two plan to sue Duterte before the ICC for crimes against humanity over extrajudicial killings.

“If I go to prison, so be it. That’s life. God asked me to be president, to rid the country of drugs and then get myself jailed,” he said.

In jest, Duterte said he is willing to go to jail as long as a companion of his choice will join him.

Just as committed

He reiterated his administration’s resolve to stop corruption. He said Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III, both present at the press conference, were just as committed to stamp out corruption.

“The PDP stands squarely against corruption,” he said, referring to the ruling party.

“And you are free to criticize us if you think that we are not honoring our commitment to the Filipino people,” he said, referring to Alvarez and Pimentel.

“You are free to ask for my dismissal. You can go out in the streets by the millions,” he said.

Duterte said the Filipino people can protest and call for his ouster from office if he is unable to fulfill his promises.

“But my promises, I shall fulfill. I rise and fall on my election promises,” he said.

“You can demonstrate every night, I will not require any permit or consent. Go ahead, every night, everyday. But I’m sure, what I promised, I will do: drugs, corruption, criminality,” he said.

In the same briefing, Duterte again stood by the policemen involved in the killing of Albuera, Leyte mayor Rolando Espinosa in November last year.

He scoffed at a Senate committee report that criticized his micro managing the Philippine National Police (PNP).

“I don’t care even if it’s a thousand committees there. I would insist on the truthfulness of the police and I’ll defend them basta wag lang yung abuso (as long as there is no abuse),” Duterte said.

“You grieve for Espinosa, fine. I said I’ll protect the Filipino people,” he added.

“Let’s just wait. If the case is filed in court, that’s the proper venue to discuss it. Lawsuit? It’s OK,” Duterte said.

“When I defend the police, I will defend the police. If I defend the military, I will go down with them to the mouths of hell because that’s my order. I won’t renege on it. I won’t deny it,” he added.

“If you are involved in drugs, don’t expect anything. Don’t expect (me to) cry for you. How many Filipino lives have you destroyed? And then when you die you want your memoirs to be melodramatic? I know you’re ready to go to hell. Let’s go there together,” he said, with expletives.

Pimentel clarified the committee report is still subject to plenary discussions and approval.  – With Jaime Laude, Cecille Suerte Felipe

INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT
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