Philippines President Elect Duterte defends war on drugs, crime, graft — Calls human rights groups “stupid”

By Philippine Inquirer

12:27 AM June 28th, 2016

DAVAO CITY—For the first time in two decades, Mayor Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte appeared before city employees in Monday’s flag-raising ceremony and spoke for nearly an hour about his oft-repeated campaign against drugs, crime and corruption when he assumes the presidency in two days.

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Duterte defended his imminent war on crime, hitting out at “stupid” human rights campaigners, and emphasized that the death penalty was for retribution.

“These human rights (groups), congressmen, how stupid you are,” he said, as he highlighted their criticism of his plans to impose late-night curfews on children being out in the streets and to reintroduce the death penalty.

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“I believe in retribution. Why? You should pay. When you kill someone, rape, you should die,” he said.

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Duterte, 71, won last month’s presidential election after campaigning largely on a platform of ending rampant crime, warning that the Philippines was in danger of becoming a narco-state.

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He promised that tens of thousands of people would die, with security forces being given shoot-to-kill orders.

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Since winning, Duterte has also promised to give bounties to police for killing drug dealers. He also encouraged ordinary citizens to kill or arrest suspects.

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Duterte has been accused of links to vigilante death squads during his nearly two decades as mayor of Davao, which rights groups say have killed more than 1,000 people.
Extrajudicial killings

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Local and foreign human rights groups have expressed deep concern about his plans as President, fearing an explosion of extrajudicial killings similar to those seen in Davao.

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The United Nations’ human rights chief, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, this month urged Duterte not to reintroduce the death penalty, while criticizing other elements of the planned war on crime.

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“The offer of bounties and other rewards for murder by vigilantes, and his encouragement of extrajudicial killings by security forces, are massive and damaging steps backwards which could lead to widespread violence and chaos,” Zeid said.

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With just three days to go before assuming the presidency, Duterte stood firm.

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“When they describe or characterize a human rights violator, these fools make it appear that the people you kill are saints, as if they are pitiful or innocent,” he said.

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Duterte said European ambassadors were also among those who had expressed concern over the death penalty and extrajudicial killings.

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The Philippines abolished the death penalty in 2006 following fierce opposition from the Catholic Church, the religion of 80 percent of Filipinos.

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A LA UP OBLATION Incoming President Rodrigo Duterte strikes a pose like the UP Oblation at the flag-raising ceremony at Davao City Hall. Duterte, a known night person who had not attended the regular Monday event for a long time, spoke of his impending war on illegal drugs, crime and corruption. ACE MORANDANTE/CONTRIBUTOR

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Duterte previously said he preferred death by hanging to a firing squad because he did not want to waste bullets, and because he believed snapping the spine with a noose was more humane.

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Working hours

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City employees, who asked not to be named, said the last time Duterte attended the flag-raising ceremony was in the mid-1990s. The mayor is known to report for work at 3 p.m. and end his day at 3 a.m.

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The crowd, numbering more than 700, stood between Quezon Park, which was cordoned off by policemen, and City Hall. It was the first time many showed up for the heavily secured event but they were prohibited from getting too near to the mayor, one employee said.

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“You cannot go near me because they (Presidential Security Group members) will stop you. They believe you will kill me,” he said, soliciting laughter from the crowd. “I also cannot go near you because they will stop me.”

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Duterte said he was always arguing with his security men. “They tell me where to go. We keep on arguing,” he said, but he acknowledged that they were only doing their job.

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“They told me that if I get killed during their watch, they will be held responsible,” he said.

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Duterte spoke for about 50 minutes, reiterating his policies on corruption and illegal drugs.

Curfew for minors

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He said he would implement nationwide the 10 p.m. curfew on minors in the city.

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Minors who are not accompanied by an adult on the streets will not be arrested, he said, but their parents will be held for abandonment.

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The mayor said he was still “thinking” on whether to implement nationwide the 2 a.m. liquor ban.

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Duterte said he would not use the vehicles that past Presidents used. “I will not ride on the Mercedes Benz,” he said. “All those who rode that were either impeached or imprisoned.”

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And just like in his recent public announcements, Duterte stressed his administration’s campaign against drugs and corruption.

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“There will be no corruption,” he said, adding that if he learned that someone from his administration is involved in corruption, “I will just whisper to you to go.”

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“It has to stop. I am hell-bent in stopping corruption,” Duterte said. “Please remember that you will never get any help from me if you have corruption cases.” With a report from AFP

http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/792773/digong-defends-war-on-drugs-crime-graft

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