MANILA, Philippines – President Duterte described Amnesty International (AI) as “naive and stupid” and challenged the group to find out the truth about the drug menace and the spate of killings in the Philippines.
AI reported last week that the Philippine National Police (PNP) acted on instructions “from the very top of government” and have executed thousands of suspected drug offenders. According to the group, the policemen also paid others to finish off drug suspects.
AI also reported that the Duterte administration’s anti-drug campaign systematically targeted poor people and encouraged policemen to break laws while profiting from the death of poor people.
Duterte denied the allegations and assailed the AI for coming up with an “unverified report.”
“This Amnesty (International is) so naive and so stupid. Why would we kill people? Ano itong gobyernong ito tagapatay na parang aso (Do they think this government kills people like dogs)? There has to be a reason. Find out the reason and find out the truth,” Duterte said during a visit to his parents’ graves in Davao City Saturday night.
“You (did not see the) need to ask the government. You just go ahead and publish anything you want and it’s easy to condemn because people judge best when they condemn,” he added.
Duterte explained that some policemen were given money so they can catch the drug pushers in the act of selling narcotics.
“I gave them P150 million for this year. Do you know why? They are out to arrest drug traffickers. If they do not have money, whoever you arrest, there can be no buy and sell of drugs so it’s not trafficking. Maybe possession (of illegal drugs) if you conduct arrest,” he said.
“They go out to buy then arrest them because that is really trafficking, buy and sell of drugs. Kung walang pera yan, ano bibili nila? Bayag nila? (If they don’t have money, what would they use to buy drugs? Their balls)?”
But Duterte admitted that some rogue policemen may have killed the drug pushers, pocketed the money and sold the narcotics.
“It is now up to Bato (PNP chief Ronald dela Rosa) to make an accounting of where the money went, was it spent? And what was the scheme?” he said.
Duterte also denied that the policemen were given additional incentives to kill drug pushers. “Why would I pay you for doing your job?”
The President again took a potshot at Sen. Leila de Lima, a vocal critic of his bloody anti-narcotics campaign whom he accused of receiving millions from drug lords.
“Is that the only thing you (De Lima) can produce? The report of Amnesty?” Duterte said.
“You must remember, Amnesty International is a creation of (George) Soros,” he added, referring to the Hungarian-American billionaire whom the President has accused of funding a group that criticized his drug crackdown and even reportedly sought his ouster.
Asked how he would react if the Senate decides to look into the AI report, Duterte replied: Hayaan nila. Hanapin nila ang totoo (Let them do it. They should find the truth).”
The President hinted though that more people would die because of his campaign against illegal drugs.
“I have been trying to figure out a way of explaining it. Ngayong nandito na tayo sa cemetery, tutal lugar na ito ng mga patay, marami pang pupunta dito (Since we are here in a cemetery, a place for the dead, many more will come here),” he said, adding an expletive.
Foreign businessmen fear for their safety
MANILA, Philippines – Foreign businessmen in the country are beginning to doubt the ability of local authorities to ensure their safety, following reports that high-ranking police were behind the kidnap-slay of Korean businessman Jee Ick-joo at police headquarters in Camp Crame last October.
“We promote trade and investment between their respective countries and regions in both directions, but can only succeed in their mission if peace and order and safety can be guaranteed by the authorities,” the Joint Foreign Chambers (JFC) of the Philippines said in a statement over the weekend.
“The kidnapping and brutal killing of Jee Ick-joo puts these expected guarantees in question,” the group stressed.
Members of the JFC – the American, Australian-New Zealand, European and Japanese chambers – said they fully support the concerns expressed by the Korean Chamber of Commerce Philippines (KCCP) over the kidnapping and murder of Jee and, in general, “the safety of local and foreign businessmen and residents at large in the Philippines.”
“We agree with the KCCP that the case has to be fully investigated, the people who did it or organized it be brought to justice fast and that the government clearly states its policy on peace and order and on the safety of local and foreign residents,” the coalition of foreign business groups said.
The JFC pointed out, though, that it appreciates President Duterte’s assurance that the people behind Jee’s death would get the maximum punishment.
The Korean business community in the Philippines earlier called on the government to double its efforts in ensuring the safety of Korean nationals in the country, following reports on Jee’s death.
“As an organization that protects the interest and promotes the Philippines as an investment hub for Korean businessmen, we are very shocked and saddened to hear one innocent Korean businessman became a victim of heinous crime committed by a group led by high ranking police officers, who were supposed to protect the safety and welfare of each individual here in the Philippines,” the KCCP said.
According to the KCCP, the government of South Korea strongly protects the welfare of almost 50,000 overseas Filipino workers there and expects the Philippine government to do the same for the 120,000 Koreans residing the country.
Full security in eastern MM
For its part, the Eastern Police District (EPD) has assured Koreans living in the eastern part of Metro Manila of full security against criminals.
EPD director Chief Supt. Romulo Sapitula gave the assurance in a dialogue over the weekend with Koreans living in the cities of Pasig, Marikina, Mandaluyong and San Juan.
Sapitula met with Korean community leaders Charlie Shin, Samuel Kang and Clone Kim to discuss security measures the EPD has been implementing to ensure the foreigners’ safety while doing business and living in the eastern part of Metro Manila.
“We had a very conducive meeting,” Sapitula told reporters yesterday. “We had a free-wheeling discussion on how to improve crime reporting and cooperation in solving crimes involving Korean nationals.”
Accompanied by Pasig City police chief Senior Supt. Orlando Yebra Jr., Sapitula sought the dialogue with the Koreans following Jee’s murder.
Shin told Sapitula the Koreans would cooperate and gladly forward information regarding crimes against Koreans to the police for speedy resolution.
The Koreans also requested Sapitula for more frequent meetings to solve their security concerns before “it’s too late.”
“We established direct communication lines for easy access to each other, and cases involving Koreans would be addressed immediately,” Sapitula said. – With Non Alquitran
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