MANILA - Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday described as a "bunch of hypocrites" the New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) for calling for an investigation into his public advocacy to kill criminal elements in Davao.
In a press statement, Duterte said his experience as mayor of Davao City has convinced him that a leader cannot be soft on criminals.
"Are you telling me that these criminals have human rights to kill and human rights to continue their criminal activities? What about the human rights of the innocent victims and their orphans?" he asked.
"A leader must be a terror to the few who are evil in order to protect the lives and well-being of the many who are good," he added.
Duterte said he will not heed the advice of US-based human rights who cannot protect the human rights of African-Americans and other minorities in their own country.
He added he will "offer no excuses" for his hard-line policy against criminals.
"I offer no excuses. I will not apologize to anyone. I am willing to go to jail so that my people can live in peace and achieve progress. So be it."
DAVAO DEATH SQUAD
Duterte, who first became Davao City mayor in 1988, has been accused by Human Rights Watch (HRW) of tolerating the killing activities of the so-called Davao Death Squad.
"The Philippine government should take a zero-tolerance approach to any public official who publicly endorses extrajudicial killings as an acceptable means of crime control," said Phelim Kine, HRW deputy Asia director.
"Duterte’s public support for the extrajudicial killings of suspected criminals should prompt a long overdue investigation into Duterte’s possible role in those deaths."
HRW said Duterte made no attempt to conceal his style in combating crimes when, in a speaking tour speech last week, he said: "We're the ninth safest city. How do you think I did it? How did I reach that title among the world’s safest cities? Kill them all [criminals]."
HRW said Duterte has so far escaped responsibility for the death squad killings.