President's kill threats not a crime: Panelo

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 21 2017 10:01 AM | Updated as of Aug 18 2017 11:03 AM

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President Rodrigo Duterte's threats to kill people cannot be considered a crime as long as he doesn't act on it, his chief legal counsel said Tuesday.

Speaking to ANC's Headstart, Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo dismissed anew as "hyperbole" the President's own claims that he roamed the streets of Davao City as mayor and "personally" killed people.

"This is the same person who will tell us this is all hyperbole. This was dramatized. My style of leadership, and he has been doing that," he said.

Asked how he could dismiss Duterte's claims when other people have already corroborated what he said, Panelo said: "According to him and I believe him, we Filipinos [are] the type that we have to be intimidated."

"In other words, he has been threatening people and that is not a crime. If he says: 'I'll kill you' - that's not a crime. You may have the worst of intentions but if you don't do it, it's not a crime."

Panelo also dismissed the claims of retired Arthur Lascañas that he received orders from then Mayor Duterte to kill drug suspects in Davao City. Lascañas said he was paid P20,00 to P100,000 for every killing carried out by the Davao Death Squad.

Asked if veteran lawyers Jose Manuel Diokno, Arno Sanidad and Alexander Padilla were misled by Lascañas, he said: "Lawyers don't lie. Clients do."

He added that while Lascañas could be sued for perjury, he would rather just ignore the ex-cop.

ANC, February 21, 2017