SINGAPORE - Unfazed by criticisms from other countries and observers back home, President Rodrigo Duterte today vowed that his controversial bloody war on illegal drugs will last while he is in office.
“If you are fighting drug addicts and criminals, I can go as many as I want and for as long as there are drug pushers in the streets in my country, for as long as there are drug lords, this campaign will go on until the last day of my term, and until all of them are killed, may I emphasize on that," he said.
"I would not have any second thoughts about cutting your head off. You destroy my country. Four million drug addicts. You have already destroyed—We’re 100 million [people]. You have already destroyed so many. Should I allow it to continue? And be like the Latin American states?”
The chief executive pointed out that his critics appear to belittle the drug problem. “I have a four million drug addicts in my country. So, that is not a joke. So, when the United Nations and even Obama talked about it publicly, they were belittling, trivializing the problem because I said there are four million addicts in my country.”
Duterte was taking questions from media in an ambush interview at the Singapore Expo before he returned to the Philippines at the conclusion of his 2-day state visit to Singapore.
Earlier, the President maintained he did not kill anyone himself. This was at the beginning of his speech to the Filipino Community gathered at the Singapore Expo.
The President scoffed at media coverage of his supposed admission that he admitted to killing people when he was mayor of Davao City. ”In the crawler yung sa TV, yung tumatakbo sa CNN pati BBC since yesterday said that Duterte admits killing shooting the criminals.
Hindi sila nagkamali p**** ina, papatayin ko talaga mga gagong..."
The President, however, said his words are being used against him. “The sloganeering that I used coming from my mouth is the very same words now being used by the human rights, the UN, the [US] State Department, eventually pati si Obama.
"...Sinabi ko na, if you are here and if you are into crime, kindly leave Davao. If you destroy Davao, I will kill you. If you are into drugs and destroy our youth, the next generation after us,....I will kill you, simple as that."
The president also maintained he does not condone extra-judicial killings. “We are not into it [EJK]. I will not allow the police paluhurin yung tao tapos tatalian. That's a lot of garbage. Hindi ka pulis niyan, 'di ka sundalo. Why would you do that if you are the police? Why would you wrap a body with masking tape all around until sa ulo? 'Di naman tayo nagmanufacture ng mummy, sa Egypt lang yun.”
The President added there were already killings even before he assumed office. “Before I became president doon sa oath-taking, there were already a lot of killings, marami. If you can review in time, take a few backward steps, it would tell you sila [drug syndicates] mismo naglilinis, na they were cleansing, already purging, hindi amin yan.”
During the interview, the President, however, began to narrate one incident when he was still mayor of Davao. “No, no, it was not because I was walking around that I killed somebody. It was actually an event that was covered by the TV and all. It was about a hostage taking. And it was when they decided to return the victim, I was already down there waiting for them. And it was covered by all the television networks in Davao. No, no. I said killed about three of them, because there were three of them. I didn’t really know how many bullets from my gun went through inside their bodies. But it happened and I said I cannot lie about it because [unclear]-- killing people kneeling down with their hands tied at the back, that’s all bullshit.”
The President maintained law enforcers have a right to defend themselves. “I will order that, I said if you go out and hunt for them, the drug guys, and it’s a virulent, arrest them if it’s possible but if they offer a violent resistance and you think as a policeman or a military man [that] you will also die, then kill them.”
Before appearing at the Singapore Expo, Duterte was hosted to lunch by Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and met with the Singapore Business Federation and Footprints LLC. The President was also spotted mingling in the shopping district on Orchard road.
Singapore also bestowed another honor traditionally accorded to visiting heads of state: an orchid was named after him at Singapore Botanic Garden.
“Dendrobium Rodrigo Roa Duterte” comes from Dendrobium Sonia Beauty x Dendrobium Urmila Nandey. It is described as a "compact, robust and vigorous hybrid. It produces upright flower sprays that bear up to 15 striking and well-arranged blooms, each velvety bloom measuring about 6 cm across. The sepals and petals are an attractive violet-red, and complementing each bloom is a lip of the same tone but darker."