Duterte wants few checks on anti-crime drive

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Says Congress, CHR, Ombudsman may hinder his campaign vs criminality

Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte at the Makati Business Club forum on Wednesday, April 27, 2016. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA – Presidential race frontrunner Rodrigo Duterte said he will give his all-out support for the military and police in his war against crime, and expressed hope that Congress, the Commission on Human Rights, and the Ombudsman would not hinder his campaign.

Duterte, known for his tough stance against crime in Davao City, told a group of business leaders that he wants the country's law enforcement agencies to encounter fewer interventions from other government institutions in their fight against criminality.

The tough-talking mayor cited Congress, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), and Office of the Ombudsman as possible hindrances to his administration's war against crime.

''Ako hindi ako tarantado. I still have the basic decency, pero huwag akong ipitin ng Congress, huwag akong ipitin ng [Commission on] Human Rights, huwag akong ipitin ng Ombudsman, because I have a task to do, a very important one for this nation, especially for the protection of our young children,'' he said.

The CHR and the Office of the Ombudsman, created after the Martial Law era, are two independent agencies considered democratic gains. The CHR is tasked to probe human rights violations, while the Ombudsman goes after government officials accused of wrongdoing.

Duterte's brand of justice has earned him supporters looking for drastic change, but his rhetoric has also sparked fears that the Philippines, which earned global admiration for toppling the Marcos dictatorship 30 years ago, will go back to a strongman rule.

READ: Return to 'strongman' rule risks Philippine growth: HSBC

The possibility of a Duterte presidency has sent jitters among investors, as the Philippines posted a net outflow of foreign funds in April, bucking a trend of net inflows for emerging markets, BDO Unibank chief investment officer Fedrico Rafael Ocampo told ANC on Tuesday.

READ: Foreign fund outflows show poll jitters: BDO

Administration bet Mar Roxas, party mate of President Aquino, the son of democracy icon Corazon Aquino, once called the mayor a "threat to democracy."

'AKO ANG BAHALA'

It has not been uncommon in the Philippines for some members of the police force to be involved in illegal activities. The mayor said the solution to this problem is to double the salaries of the police and hire 3,000 more policemen.

Duterte said he also does not like how members of Congress in the past treated police officials during legislative investigations.

''Huwag niyo akong bara-barahin, like calling people to Congress. Alam mo how they are treated, even the congressman, iyung mga generals sinisigaw-sigawan. Don’t do that. I will not allow that, just because you are a congressman, senador. Do not do it, mag-engkwentro tayo,'' he said.

''Kasi itong mga sundalo, matatakot. So, personally, I will tell them ako ang bahala. Kapag sinita ako ng human rights, senador, ituro mo ako."

Duterte, who is accused of tolerating death squads in his turf, said he would have no problem with policemen and soldiers killing criminals who will not yield to authorities.

''I will use the military and the police to go out and arrest them, hunt for them, and if they would offer a violent resistance, thereby placing the lives of the law enforcers and the military whom I would task for a job to do [at risk], I will simply say, 'patayin niyong lahat para matapos na ang problema,''' he said.

The mayor, who is now leading the pre-election surveys, has promised to solve criminality in the country in 3 to 6 months, something his detractors have said is impossible to achieve.

In his speech, Duterte said his war against criminality will indeed be bloody.

''We must begin by addressing criminality. I assure you, under my leadership, you'll feel the difference in 6 months,'' he said.

"Sometimes I'm being castigated just for being brutal and honest. It will be a bloody war."

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