Philippines: Filipinos Still Back President Duterte’s Drug War — Duterte says Amnesty International are “idiots” — “I used to [kill people] personally.”

MANILA — Eight out of 10 Filipinos worry they or someone they know might become a victim of extrajudicial killings, an opinion poll published on Monday found, although a majority also gave President Rodrigo Duterte’s drug war an “excellent” rating.

More than 2,000 people have been killed by police in anti-narcotics operations in the Philippines since Duterte took office on July 1. Another 3,000 deaths, some attributed to masked men on motorcycles or vigilantes, are under investigation.

Social Weather Stations (SWS), an independent pollster, asked 1,500 Filipinos nationwide if they were concerned that either they or someone they knew could fall victim to an extrajudicial killing, and 78 percent said they were either very worried or somewhat worried.

The SWS survey was conducted with face-to-face interviews on Dec. 3-6, with the results posted online on Monday.

Despite those fears, the survey also found Filipinos were staunchly behind Duterte’s drugs war, which has drawn international concern and a request from a United Nations human rights expert to investigate.

Duterte’s drugs war received an “excellent” mark from an overwhelming majority of respondents, a rating determined by deducting the eight percent of respondents who said they were dissatisfied from the 85 percent who were satisfied.

“I am not surprised with the conundrum that people acknowledge that the anti-drug campaign is fitting, so they allow it. But they would like less killings,” said Ramon Casiple, executive director of the Institute for Political and Electoral Reform.

Martin Andanar, Duterte’s communication secretary, said the government recognized concerns among Filipinos but reiterated that the killings were not state-sponsored.

“Rest assured that the Duterte administration respects the law and upholds the basic rights of our people, regardless of beliefs and political persuasion,” he said in a statement.

The survey, which had a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percent, also found 71 percent felt it was important to keep those suspected of drug use or drug trafficking alive. A similar figure said the extrajudicial killings were a serious problem.

A convincing 88 percent also believed there had been a decrease in the illicit drug problem in their communities.

The firebrand leader, known as “the Punisher” and “Duterte Harry”, has said he personally killed criminals while he was mayor of southern Davao City, leading senators to warn him that he risked being impeached.

(Reporting by Neil Jerome Morales and Karen Lema; Editing by Paul Tait)

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Duterte defends ‘kill’ boast, calls rights group ‘an idiot’

President Rodrigo Duterte speaks to the Filipino community in Singapore on Friday, Dec. 16, 2016. AP/Wong Maye-E

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte lambasted international human rights group Amnesty International following its statement regarding his admission that he personally killed suspected criminals while serving as mayor of Davao City.

“Ang sinabi niya Duterte is talking about killing criminals it would inspire the police and military to commit abuse. What are you talking about? Idioto ka,” Duterte said in an ambush interview in Zamboanga City last Saturday.

The president added that the encounter happened when he was only three months in office when he was Davao City mayor.

“‘Yung sinasabi nila na engkwentro, it really happened in Davao. I was only three months mayor. May kinidnap doon sa Davao, three months lang ako uso na ‘yung kidnap kidnap, maski mismo sa downtown dinadampot ‘yung tao kaya two months after sinauli nila ang bata, she was a teenager, (a) 16-year-old Chinese,” Duterte said. (“The encounter they were talking about really happened in Davao when I was only mayor of three months. Someone was kidnapped there. Kidnapping was already rampant then, even in the city’s downtown, people were abducted. Two months after, the suspects returned the kid, she was a teenager, a 16-year-old Chinese.”)

“Itong idiotong ito na [sabi] si Duterte killed so many criminals, talaga! Bakit pahirapan mo ang tao mo? Siyempre mayor ako ng Davao papayag ba ako na mayor ka tapos ang mga tao ko kikidnapin lang tapos pakainin lang ng droga?” the president added. (“This idiot said Duterte killed so many criminals. Really? Why are you making people suffer? Of course, I was the mayor, would I allow someone to be kidnapped and then drugged?”)

Last week, Duterte boasted about killing criminals while he was Davao mayor. “I used to do it personally, just to show to the guys that if I can do it, why can’t you?”

Rafendi Djamin, Amnesty International’s director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, said Duterte’s claim takes the meaning of state-sanctioned violence to a “whole new level.”

Djamin added Duterte’s statement encourages the police to further commit extrajudicial killings.

“By boasting about the blood on his own hands, President Duterte will further embolden police and vigilantes to blatantly violate laws and carry out more extrajudicial executions without fear of being held to account,” Djamin said in a statement.

 

The president should instead be ordering investigations into the killings and not claim a part in them, the Amnesty official said.

“Statements like these continue to give everybody, including the police in the Philippines a license to kill in the knowledge that they are protected by the president,” Djamin said.

Amnesty International urged Duterte to put a stop to unlawful killings and send a clear message that the government is not encouraging unlawful use of force.

“The Philippines authorities must step off the bloody path they have set out on, and fulfill their duty to protect all people by ending incitement to violence,” the statement read.

RELATED: Duterte wants 6 executions daily

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