MANILA – President Rodrigo R. Duterte is eager to resume his motorcycle-riding activities when he was still mayor in Davao City after he steps down from office in June, saying he would track down criminals like he used to.
“Now that I won’t be President anymore, nobody can dictate what I do. I will go riding on a motorcycle and roam around the… And I’ll search for drug peddlers, shoot them and kill them,” he said in Bisaya in a speech during the Hugpong ng Pagbabago miting de avance on Friday night.
Duterte warned criminals, especially drug smugglers, not to let their guard down since he would still find and capture them.
“Truthfully speaking, don’t let your guard down thinking I won’t – p***** i** I will still go after you if you dabble in drugs. You criminals just like the – when you kidnap them, beat them up, and take their money. If they don’t give you the money, you’ll kill the victim. And in some cases after you receive the ransom, you still kill your victim. And the family will wonder why you chose to kill. They begin to wonder if there is even justice. Justice is hard to attain. But I’m a lawyer and I believe in justice, just do it the right way,” he added.
He went on to say that his mantra of fighting illegal drugs, which started when he was a mayor, had never changed.
“That is why when I became mayor, I was very strict. I told them that I would build a city that is comfortable for the people to live in. I warned them not to destroy my city with drugs especially my children, our children. If you do that here in Davao, I will really kill you. When I became President, it was still my mantra,” he said.
He defended anew the administration’s aggressive crackdown on illegal drugs, noting that despite his rhetoric, he never ordered law enforcement authorities to carry out unlawful killings.
“The ICC, the International Criminal Court said they will sue me for ordering the killings. I said, I never ordered the police to kill them, I never did. All I said was I will kill you myself. I never ordered anyone else to do it for me,” he added.
Duterte also said there was no truth to reports that he had ever killed anyone.
“I’ll be frank with you, the ICC and human rights, I have never killed anyone yet, but I may do so soon. The time will come for that. But when I was mayor, this was my guidance, go out, all of you policemen and find the drug addicts and drug lords and arrest them. If they resist and your life is in jeopardy, then in the fulfilment of your duty basta sa trabaho ka lang makapatay (as long as it is in the line of duty), I will take the blame for you. It’s on me. That’s what I said,” he said.
He said a mayor or a president should not fear to confront criminals.
“I will tell the Human Rights and Criminal Court, if you are a mayor or president and the criminals aren’t afraid of you, then you are useless,” he added.
Last March, Duterte expressed hope that his successor would continue his drug war, saying he is worried about a possible “resurgence.”
A total of PHP76.01 billion worth of illegal drugs have been seized nationwide since the start of Duterte’s drug war in July 2016, according to the latest Read Numbers data released by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency. (PNA)