Now that more and more persons with credibility (among them Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV during the vice-presidential debate and much earlier former senator and now senatorial candidate Panfilo "Ping" Lacson) are questioning the sanity of his claim that he can rid the country of criminals, drug dealers and corrupt officials in three to six months, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte is backtracking.
A Rappler report said in his rally in Taguig last Monday, Duterte’s line was, “Hindi ko talaga ma i-stop as in stop. For as long as there is society, and there are men and women and children in a society, there will always be crime."
In his rally in Cainta the next day, he used another term: “Synonym ng suppression is stopping. Hindi ko talaga mai-stop as in stop.For as long as there is society, and there are men and women and children in a society there will always be crime. When I say ‘suppression,’ it’s really ‘stopping'."
But he immediately reverted to the line that appealed to a deeply frustrated public.
"Ngayon kung gusto mo talaga ‘stop', my orders, barilin niyo lahat. Pag dinemanda kayo, sabihin niyo sa fiscal, si Duterte ‘yan. Isali mo si Duterte kasi siya ang nagbigay ng order,” he said according to Rappler.
Earlier, he was categorical that he if elected president, he will rid the country of "drugs, crime and criminality in 3 to 6 months.”
His only explanation was, “If I cannot do it in six months, I will never be able to do it even if you give me 10 years.”
His running mate, Sen. Alan Cayetano, even said, if Duterte failed to achieve what they promised, they will resign.
In other speeches, Duterte said, "I will order the military and the police to go after drug lords at saka iyung malalaki. Go to them and arrest them. Kung mayroon silang resistance and the violent resistance is presented, go ahead and kill them."
To the applause of his supporters, he added, "If ikaw pulis, militar kapag hindi mo pinatay, ikaw ang patayin ko."
One time, he warned criminals: “I can eat your heart in front of you.”
Journalist Carlos Conde who is now with Human Rights Watch wrote in Facebook: "Kung talagang matapang si Duterte, he should give details of the killings he had a hand in. No qualifications, no equivocations, no hiding behind technicalities. If he really believes his victims were guilty, he should come out with their names, the crimes that they supposedly committed, when he killed them, how he killed them. Then let the judicial process -- the same process he denied his victims -- determine if they're indeed guilty of those crimes. If indeed they're guilty, let's call it quits. If not, Duterte should be man enough -- yong hindi bayot, to use his favorite pejorative that I'm using here just to illustrate a point -- to face the consequences of his actions.
"It's probably a pointless exercise but, at the very least, it will show to the public the truth, if any, in his macho claim -- the same claim that's going to propel him to the presidency -- that he has killed all these people for the good of his city. Because if he had not, then what good is he? Because if he had not, sino ang bayot?"
He called Liberal Party standard-bearer, Mar Roxas, bayot (gay).
Going around social media is the 2007 report by the Philip Alston, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions.
Written after Alston visited the Philippines, the report included a section on the “Death Squad Killings” in Davao City.
The report said it is open secret in Davao that barangay officials submit to the Death Squad a list of suspected criminals. “ Persons included on the list are first warned to stop suspected activities or to leave Davao City, and if they do not, then they are abducted or killed on sight.”
The report said, ”As a result, death squad members operate with complete impunity. Killing for hire is on the rise as death squad members become bold enough to sell their services, and some reports indicate that a killing only costs about 5,000 pesos (about US$ 100). Impunity also means that although killings take place in broad daylight, witnesses are not prepared to testify against the perpetrators.”
Alston said he was not aware of a single conviction for a death squad killing in Davao.
The Alston report touched on the role of Duterte.
It said : “The Mayor of Davao City has done nothing to prevent these killings, and his public comments suggest that he is, in fact, supportive. Mayor Duterte responded to the reported arrest and subsequent release of a notorious drug lord in Manila by saying: “Here in Davao, you can’t go out alive. You can go out, but inside a coffin. Is that what you call extra-judicial killing? Then I will just bring a drug lord to a judge and kill him there, that will no longer be extra-judicial.”
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