'I don't give a sh*t': Duterte says extrajudicial killings in drug war 'not true'

Job Manahan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 14 2022 08:13 PM | Updated as of Jun 14 2022 09:43 PM

Family members and relatives receive the urns holding the ashes of victims of the war on drugs after a memorial service inside a Catholic church in Manila on November 15, 2021. Basilio H. Sepe, ABS-CBN News
Family members and relatives receive the urns holding the ashes of victims of the war on drugs after a memorial service inside a Catholic church in Manila on November 15, 2021. Basilio H. Sepe, ABS-CBN News

MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday said it is "not true" there were extrajudicial killings in his government's fight against illegal drugs, adding that he did not order a "shooting spree" against drug addicts. 

The outgoing chief executive said he only directed law enforcement authorities to kill drug suspects who threaten their lives during operations. 

"Yung sinasabi nila na extrajudicial killing, hindi totoo yan. Why do we have to extra judicial kill a person?" said Duterte in a speech at New Clark City in Tarlac during the inspection of the National Academy of Sports. 

(The extrajudicial killings they are talking about are not true.) 

"My order to the law enforcement agencies... is that, 'Go out and destroy the apparatus of the drug syndicates, and if you have to kill because you are in danger of being killed, go ahead, unahan mo na' (be the first one)" he added. 

A total of 6,241 people have been killed during anti-illegal drugs operations since July 1, 2016, data from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) showed. 

PDEA Director-General Wilkins Villanueva had said the drug war never intended to kill individuals, adding that the program also focused on rehabilitation. 

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Video from PTV

Duterte said he did not want a casualty among government forces during the conduct of illegal drug operations so he told them "not to hesitate" in killing dangerous drug suspects. He said he would take accountability for it. 

"I did not want... a dead soldier o policeman. 'Bakit di mo binaril? (why didn't you shoot?) Do not hesitate.' And I take full, legal responsibility for ito... I never said go out and do a shooting spree and kill all the human beings... only those who will destroy my country," he said.

Data analyzed by the ABS-CBN Investigative and Research Group showed that there were 7,009 drug-related deaths in the past six years based on data released by local officials and information reported by news outlets. 

Of those, 1,949 individuals were killed by unidentified suspects while 280 were bodies dumped in public spaces, according to the researchers.

With two weeks left in office, Duterte defended his drug war, saying this aims to protect the country's future generation. 

The Commission on Human Rights though, in its human rights report published last month, said the government's drug war failed to uphold human rights and even encouraged a "culture of impunity" for the killings.


Duterte criticized a former Supreme Court justice who described his bloody drug war as "unconstitutional," saying the magistrate was out-of-touch with the realities on the ground. 

He did not identify the magistrate, but described him as someone who hails from Davao City and a "scholar" who graduated at the top of his class.

The former justice is also "torpe" and is someone who did not understand that the drug war could not be carried out by simply asking drug peddlers to stop doing the illegal activity, said Duterte.

"Sabi ko, 'Direk, magkaiba ang libro natin. You must have the wrong theories about humanities and all but yung mga ganoon, subukan mo dito sa trabaho ko'," he said, referring to the justice.

(I told the director, we have different books... try what I am doing, do my work.) 

"Fighting drugs, hindi mo madala (you cannot do it with a simple)... 'Hello, drug lords, kindly stop because you are destroying the next generation, our children, our only asset,'" he added. 

"How many dysfunctional families are suffering? Kayo nga. Sige nga, how do you solve? Human rights. Gag* kayo, pati yung justices. Unconstitutional? Ulol. Even if it is unconstitutional, so be it. I will do it. Wala akong — I don't give a sh*t."

In an interview on Rappler, former Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, who was born in Davao City, had said the "drug war was clearly unconstitutional" after the national police directed its personnel to "neutralize" drug suspects under Operation Tokhang. 

"The word used is 'neutralized.' In fact, the phrase used was 'neutralize street-level targets'. This is a phrase used in the PNP circular. To neutralize means to kill. This is obviously illegal and unconstitutional," Carpio told the news outfit.

"My opinion is the drug war was an unconstitutional directive," he added. 

The International Criminal Court (ICC) last year authorized a full inquiry into the government's drug war due to possible crimes against humanity. But this was suspended in November as the court assesses the government's deferral request. 

Duterte in his speeches encouraged his successor to continue his drug war, saying "it has to be a war."