MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang denied yesterday President Duterte issued “written” shoot-to-kill orders against individuals involved in the illegal drug trade.
Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said the written order of Duterte was for members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to shoot only to protect themselves during arrests or operations.
“There are two positions there, right? One is, if you see a suspect, you shoot and kill, right? The other one is that – the written directive really is: that you are to defend yourself, if they resist arrest,” Abella explained.
Abella made the statement after United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein criticized Duterte Tuesday for saying “statements of scorn for international human rights law (that) display a striking lack of understanding of our human rights institutions and the principles which keep societies safe.”
Al Hussein added “empowering police forces to shoot to kill any individual whom they claim to be a suspect of drug crimes, with or without evidence, undermines justice.”
Abella said Ambassador Cecilia Rebong, the country’s permanent representative to the UN in Geneva, has belied the statement of Al Hussein with regard to the shoot-to-kill order for drug suspects.
Asked about the videos that showed the President talking about shoot-to-kill, like the one involving Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. who was linked to the illicit drug trade, Abella reiterated there was no written order.
Pushed to explain further as the verbal instruction could be creating confusion among the policemen and military, the spokesman said the PNP and the AFP officers were “properly instructed before they leave” for operations.
“If you listen to him (Duterte), the statements… his messages are layered and part of this is addressed to criminals… he justified his tendency to threaten criminals. So part of the messaging is really addressed to criminals,” Abella said.
According to Al Hussein, the people of the Philippines have a right to judicial institutions that are impartial, operate under due process guarantees and a police force that serves justice.
The UN rights chief also encouraged the Philippines to extend an invitation to the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions to deal with the problem.
Rodrigo Duterte Ordered Philippine Killings, Professed Hit Man Testifies
MANILA — He was a member of a hit squad that killed hundreds over the years, taking part in about 50 of the murders himself. One victim was fed to crocodiles, he recalled, and four others were hanged and thrown into the sea.
The self-described hit man, Edgar Matobato, said that Rodrigo Duterte, the new president of the Philippines, presided over the extrajudicial killings of about 1,000 criminals and political opponents when he was mayor of Davao City for most of the past two decades — even ordering some of the killings himself.
“We were tasked to kill criminals every day, including pushers and snatchers,” Mr. Matobato said Thursday at a televised Senate hearing investigating extrajudicial killings in Davao City.
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