MANILA- President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday said he would rather believe the accounts of policemen and soldiers on anti-crime operations rather than what critics are saying about his war on drugs.
In a speech during the induction of newly elected officers and trustees of the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) in Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu, Duterte cursed government officials and businessmen engaged in illegal drugs.
"T*****a itong mga barangay captain, itong mga negosyante, Chinese and Filipino alike, mga mayors. They produce drugs overnight. In two months, they become billionaires," he said.
"Maniwala talaga ako sa pulis sabi lumaban. To serve a warrant is not illegal. It may be improper but you can serve it anywhere, you can ask a lawyer," he said, belittling reports that police may be behind extra-judicial killings (EJKs).
(I will really believe the police when they say the suspects shot it out.)
"Kung anong sabihin ng pulis, anong sabihin ng military, yun ang sundin ko...Eh sila yung inutusan kong mamatay eh so I have to give credence," he added.
(What the police would say, what the military would say, that's what I will follow. They are the ones who I asked to die so I have to give credence.)
Duterte earlier said that there is no “humanity” to speak of when it comes to criminals involved in illegal drugs, after international non-government organization Human Rights Watch reported that EJKs appeared to be sanctioned by the government and may be considered a crime against humanity.
Over 7,000 people have been killed as a result of the drug war since President Duterte assumed power. Police say most of these killings resulted from legitimate police operations where most of the slain suspects shot it out with authorities.