PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte urged law enforcers to press on with the ongoing war against drugs and not mind growing concern over human rights violations, adding that he expects to retire with the reputation of Ugandan dictator Idi Amin.
Conceding that law enforcers would likely be charged in court for human rights violations, Duterte vowed to pardon lawmen who may get into legal trouble so long as they are doing their job honestly and not fabricating evidence.
“I tell all policemen: Do not lie to me. I will shoot you. You do your job. Do not invent lies. Do not fabricate evidence. I will hear you. And if you’re telling the truth, you tell me,” Duterte told his classmates at the San Beda College of Law during a fellowship dinner in Malacañang on Sunday.
“The President can grant pardon, conditional or absolute. Or grant amnesty with the concurrence of Congress. I will use it, believe me,” he added.
In another tirade filled with his usual hyperbole, Duterte doubled down on a promised campaign of widespread killings and said he wouldn’t listen to “bleeding hearts.”
“I will retire with the reputation of Idi Amin,” he said, referring to the late African ruler whose 1971-1979 regime was characterized by large-scale rights abuses that killed thousands of Ugandans.
“I am not afraid of human rights [concerns.] I will not allow my country to go to the dogs,” Duterte said. “Why will I give you a [due] process? I am the president. I don’t give you [due] process.”
The former city prosecutor encouraged law enforcers, who may be charged for substantial or procedural violations of due process, to tell their accusers that they were only obeying the orders of the President.
“[Tell them] that’s the order of Mayor Rody. You tell the judge, the [prosecutor], the Ombudsman even [the Commission on] Human Rights… I have something in hand: The right or power of the president [to pardon],” he said.
Human rights groups had repeatedly lashed on the spate of killings of alleged drug dealers since the President assumed office last month.
The deaths recorded of those allegedly behind the drug trade in the country already numbers 136 deaths, according to reports cited by the International Commission on Jurists since June 30, the day of Duterte’s inauguration, until July 11.
The group also pointed out that some 84 suspected criminals were killed during police operations, “many in an allegedly unlawful manner.”
Police on Monday unveiled plans for a large electronic billboard outside the force’s Manila headquarters to broadcast a running tally of drugs suspects who have been arrested or “neutralised” — killed — during operations.
The billboard will “give everyday people… the accomplishments of their police,” community relations chief Senior Superintendent Gilberto Cruz told AFP.
The billboard, which was ordered by Duterte and the police leadership, will likely be completed by September, he added. – with AFP