MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte said on Tuesday he was willing to resort to "evil" to fight the narcotics trade, which he promised to eradicate in 2016.
Reiterating an often repeated threat, he told drug traffickers, "You deal with drugs, you destroy my country. I will kill you. I will not mince words."
"You’re doing an evil thing and you think you can conquer good… Sometimes I also do evil, so evil to evil tayo," Duterte said in an interview with Kingdom of Jesus Christ founder Pastor Apollo Quiboloy, who endorsed him for president in 2016.
"And do not ever, ever think that you are the only one who can do evil things kasi ako, marunong din akong bumaba sa impyerno (because I know how to go down to hell to meet you) to really meet you where you want it to be," he added.
Duterte's drug war has killed at least 6,000 people, according to government data in the end of February. Various rights groups are saying though that thousands more have been slain in alleged extrajudicial killings.
The President said he "never, never allowed the killing of young people" in his drug war.
"Sabi ko hulihin na lang," he said.
(I said, just arrest them.)
Two non-governmental organizations said last year at least 122 children have been killed in the Philippines war on drugs -- often deliberately.
"If you want to play evil with me kaya ko rin... Kung wala ka na kaluluwa, edi wala rin akong kaluluwa. And if you have to mortgage your soul to the devil, I can also talk to the devil at sabihin ko ring 'Ibigay mo yang kabalastugan kasi gagawin ko ‘yan sa kanila," Duterte said, continuing his threats against drug traffickers.
(If you want to play evil with me, I can do that, too. If you no longer have a soul, I won't have a soud, too. And And if you have to mortgage your soul to the devil, I can also talk to the devil, and say, 'Give that foolery to them because I will do that to them.')
"Of course, it is true that you are not supposed to kill, you are not supposed to because we are on the good side. Pero kung wala na lang, bad sila tapos hindi mo naman tapatan ng bad, mahirap ‘yan," he added.
(But if nothing, you will not face off bad with bad, that will be difficult.)
He told Quiboloy, "Sana naman tubusin mo na lang ako sa impyerno."
(I hope you just ransom me from hello.)