The Philippines’ ultra-hardline President Rodrigo Duterte—facing international outrage for his bloody anti-drug crackdown—boasted to a group of business leaders he hosted at the presidential palace in Manila this week that he “personally” killed drug suspects when he was mayor of Davao City.
Bizarrely, this boast came as he argued that the thousands of victims of his drug war have been killed in legitimate police operations.
The quote (apparently cleaned up from his choppy verbatim) is reported in the Philippines Inquirer: “I know because…I used to do it personally. Just to show to the [police officers] that if I can do it, why can’t you?…I go around in Davao [on] a big bike and I would just patrol the streets and looking for trouble. [Sic] I was really looking for an encounter to kill.”
Of course, prowling the streets on his trademark Harley-Davidson spoiling for a fight is not exactly what most would consider legitimate police operations.
Duterte began his murderous social purge of druggies and low-level criminals in his years as Davao mayor, employing unofficial death-squads as well as the actual city police. Since becoming the country’s president this year, he’s been applying the same strategy nationwide. The total number killed in his campaign—both as mayor and president, by death-squads and official security forces—may be as high as 6,000.
In his rant to the business leaders, Duterte again voiced contempt for his critics in the international human rights organizations: “If I am afraid [and] stop because of the human rights [groups]…sorry, I am not about to do that. You [want to] arrest me? Oust me? Go ahead. So fine. Oust me? Good. Assassinate me? Better. I have this migraine every day [anyway].”
More bizarrely still, just before addressing the businessmen that same day, Duterte refuted charges that he is a “killer” for overseeing extrajudicial executions.
He told an awards ceremony at the palace: “I am not a killer. I do not relish or enjoy [seeing] a Filipino sprawled there with all the blood.”
Maybe he thinks if he doesn’t enjoy it, it doesn’t count?
This latest outrage comes as Duterte just appointed a notorious rights abuser as head of his armed forces. Lt. Gen. Eduardo Año, formerly commander of the Philippine army, has been promoted to armed forces chief of staff. The appointment was harshly criticized by an organization of families of those “disappeared” by military-linked death squads. Lorena Santos, secretary general of Families of the Desaparecidos for Justice, said it is “a clear manifestation of impunity, when human rights violators escape prosecution and are instead rewarded for their crimes against the Filipino people.”
She added: “What does this tell us of this system? This fascist state continues to hail mercenaries, while [the] victims of enforced disappearance have yet to be surfaced.”
Año was appointed army chief last year by then-president Benigno Aquino. As the Philippines rights group Karapatan noted at the time, he was accused of overseeing paramilitary groups in Mindanao as part of his campaign against leftist guerrillas of the New People’s Army. This was during the same period that Duterte was running his anti-drug death squads in Davao, also on the southern Mindanao island.
Despite Duterte’s current overtures to the left and pledge of peace talks with the guerrillas, it is hard to believe there wasn’t some overlap between these death-squad networks.
You can keep up with all of HIGH TIMES’ news right here.
The Return Of The Super Sativa Seed Club
Getting Lost At The FounderMade Discovery Show West
Oklahoma Lawyer Pleads Guilty to Staging Threats From Irate Cannabis Proponents
Study Suggests Legal Cannabis Could Create Over 100,000 Jobs in Florida
Expert Lighting Advice For Taking Your Grow To The Next Level
The Rebirth Of Subcool: The Inside Story Of A Legendary Bud Breeder
The Best Hydroponic Methods For Growing Cannabis Yourself
Authorities Investigating “Dank” Cartridges As Possible Culprit In Vape-Related Illnesses
Grow6 days ago
Master Of Hash: Frenchy Cannoli’s Plan To Change The World Of Hashmaking
News5 days ago
Researchers Study How to Treat Cannabis Addiction With More Cannabis
News3 days ago
Canadian Cannabis Company Will Sell Marijuana For Less Than $5 Per Gram
News6 days ago
Kushy Punch Under Scrutiny For Allegedly Making Illegal Vape Cartridges
Activism4 days ago
Compassion Lives on in California as Governor Signs The Dennis Peron and Brownie Mary Act
News4 days ago
California Governor Signs Several Marijuana-Related Bills
News5 days ago
Comprehensive Marijuana Legalization Bill Introduced in Pennsylvania
News5 days ago
Florida Man Calls Police to Report His Roommate For Stealing His Weed