MANILA – Unbowed by rising international criticism, President Rodrigo Duterte said on Tuesday not even the United Nations (UN) could stop him from waging a ruthless campaign against the twin scourges of illegal drugs and corruption.
Duterte quoted former US President Abraham Lincoln, who said that if he minded all criticism against him, “the presidency might as well be closed for any other business.” Lincoln is credited for leading America out of a civil war.
Duterte said “idiots” could not comprehend the seriousness of the drug problem in the Philippines. “Itong UN [The UN], they’re only concerned with what 1,000 bones? Hindi ba nakita itong [Have they not seen] thousands, hundreds of thousands of Filipinos. What do they expect of our country for the next generation?”
Over 700 people have been killed in police operations against drug suspects since Duterte won the presidency last May 10, according to monitoring by the ABS-CBN Investigative and Research Group. More than 300 have been killed by unidentified assailants.
“Sabihin ko kay De Lima lahat sila, p****** ninyo, 'wag n'yo ako isali diyan [I will tell De Lima, everyone of them. Leave me alone],” he said.
The President was referring to Sen. Leila de Lima, who was leading a Senate investigation into the hundreds of deaths linked to his anti-drug campaign.
A female witness presented on Monday in the joint Senate committee probe alleged that police murdered her common-law husband and his father in a police operation last July 7 in Pasay City.
“I cannot answer everybody. Basta ako, trabaho [I just do my job]. This fight against drugs will continue to the last day of my term. The fight against corruption will continue for six years,” Duterte added on Thursday.
Duterte over the weekend threatened to leave the United Nations after two of its representatives criticized his anti-drug campaign. His aides have since played down his statements.