Duterte threatens to kill rights activists if drug problem worsens

President Duterte says his accusers should be blamed if "war on drugs" fails. Image: Philippine Daily Inquirer

By Marlon Ramos in Manila

Human rights advocates, beware. You might just be next in “The Punisher’s” crosshairs.

President Rodrigo Duterte has threatened to kill human rights activists critical of his take-no-prisoner tactic against illegal drugs, which has claimed the lives of some 5000 people allegedly involved in the narcotics trade.

In a speech in Malacañang on Monday night, Duterte said those accusing him of ordering the summary executions of drug personalities should be blamed if the country’s drug problem worsened.

“The human rights (defenders) said I ordered the killings. I told them, ‘OK. Let’s stop. We’ll let them (drug users) multiply so that when it’s harvest time, more people will die,” the President said at the inaugural switch-on of a coal-fired power plant.

“I will include you because you are the reason why their numbers swell,” he said in Filipino.

Duterte had been openly giving out grim warnings to drug users and pushers, but had also been consistent in denying insinuations that his words were veiled sanctions for extrajudicial killings.

He infamously earned the moniker “The Punisher” for advocating the vigilante murders of petty criminals when he was still the mayor of Davao City for 23 years.

‘Stage 2 cancer’
As in all his previous speaking engagements, the President reiterated the magnitude of the country’s drug problem, likening it to a “stage 2 cancer”.

“If the human rights (community) could not understand what I’m saying, if you’re that stupid, then I cannot do anything for you,” he said.

He lambasted the United States and the European Union yet again for raising their concern over his threats to kill suspected drug personalities.

“When was it a crime to say, ‘I will kill you’ in protecting my country? When did saying, ‘if you harm my country and my children, I will kill you’ become a crime?’ My God!” he said.

Duterte also mocked the European lawyers, saying “their brain is just like a pea.”

“Don’t believe in European lawyers. They are stupid, believe me. Listen to Filipino (lawyers),” he said.

‘Validated list’
Duterte then showed his audience a 25cm thick pile of documents, which contained the “validated list” of about 5000 public officials allegedly behind the illegal drug trade.

The Chief Executive said most of those benefitting from the illicit business were village officials who were earning “easy money”.

“(That’s why) I acceded to an election this year for the barangay captains. We would have lost to the money of the drug industry,” he said.

Duterte said he also showed the documents to former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo during their one-on-one meeting.

The President has blamed Arroyo and his predecessor, former President Benigno Aquino III, for allowing the drug trade to proliferate during their incumbency.

“I am not trying to scare you,” he said as he presented the so-called “narco-list.”

“This is the drug industry of the Philippines. These are all the names,” he continued. “I showed this to (former) President Arroyo. I said, ‘Ma’am, we are in a bind. I really do not know how to (handle this). I surrender. I cannot do this.’”

Even if he wanted to kill all those on the list, Duterte said he “would not have the time and resources to do it.”

He said “narco-politics” was already existing in the Philippines “given the so many thousands of policemen and mayors involved” in the sale and distribution of illicit substances.

Marlon Ramos is a reporter on the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

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  1. Tyrants such as Duterte are often violently removed by the exact same people who were once very loyal supporters. Gaddafi was stabbed up the backside while being dragged through the same streets he used to rule over with an iron fist. Likewise, Duterte will be very lucky if he gets to the International Criminal Court before something similar happens. Thousands of people have seen their family members and friends murdered by Duterte; they will not treat him kindly when the time comes.

    “Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte threatened to kill human-rights activists who obstruct his bloody drug war during a speech at the presidential palace Monday.”
    — Time (magazine), November 29th, 2016

    “The court sentence should serve as a warning to leaders from the Philippines, South Sudan, Sudan, the Central African Republic, Syria, North Korea as well as the Islamic State group.”
    — David Scheffer, UN Special Expert on UN Assistance to the Khmer Rouge Trials, November, 2016

    The Rome Statute defines murder or persecution that is knowingly “committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack against any civilian population” as a crime against humanity. The wide-scale extrajudicial killings carried out under Duterte’s orders meet that definition. Duterte and many of his entourage will soon stand trial in the International Court of The Hague for the unlawful murder of many thousands of civilians.

    An elected government should not declare war and militarize against its own people. Historically, the use of deadly force to address/prohibit peaceful, consensual transactions between adults, such as gambling, prostitution, drug/alcohol use/sales, has only ever produced negative results. Such a violent crusade against civilians invariably evolves into a full-blown civil war.

    With Duterte’s blessing, members of the police special forces disguise themselves with wigs and masks, operate in tandem on motorbikes, and murder known anti-crime crusaders. After completing their killing mission, they flee under the cover of darkness, only to appear the next day to hold a press conference. These same special forces then claim that drug dealers are behind the killings. The public agree and the killings duly continue ad infinitum, and with total impunity.
    Kindly google: “2 Cops Kill Anticrime Crusader in Mindoro”

    Dear people of the Philippines:

    It is now obvious (at least to the rest of humanity) that you have foolishly elected a psychotic despot for president. A darkness has engulfed your whole nation. You no longer have due process, constitutionally protected rights or fair trials in a public forum. Suspicion or rumor is now all that’s required to terminate the life of any citizen. All of you now run a very high risk of execution by a state-sanctioned death squad.

    Nowhere on this planet has any nation ever had success with the policy of drug prohibition. Many of your villages, towns and cities will be turned into killing fields. Hundreds of thousands of you may now die. Your most precious institutions and possessions will be destroyed—but the drugs, the corruption and the violence will still be there. And the world will finally realize how dangerous and destructive prohibition really is.

    You are actually in the process of destroying your own society and nothing can change your fate. Every one of you is now vulnerable to deadly attack. Right here n the Philippines, drug prohibition has finally reached its inevitable blood-drenched conclusion.

    Thank you for helping to teach the world this powerful lesson with the blood of your own families!

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