MANILA – (UPDATED) President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday lashed out at Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales for criticizing him over his habit of threatening to kill drug suspects.
Duterte challenged Morales to present him with a law which bars him from threatening to kill criminals.
“Ombudsman, find me a law which says I cannot threaten criminals with death. Find me a law which would bar me from saying ‘I will destroy you if you destroy my country.’ If you can do that I will step down tomorrow,” Duterte said in a speech in Malacañang.
“Dumating ka pa ng Supreme Court hindi mo alam iyan. Mahiya ka sa sarili mo,” the feisty leader added.
Duterte was reacting to Morales' interview with Japanese public network NHK, where she said Duterte seemed to be “goading people to kill people.”
“That's a problem. His communications people say ‘that's hyperbole.’ You know, they try to rationalize whatever he says, so whether or not the police or whoever he addresses these words, believe him. That's a different story. The directive to kill people under any situation irrespective of the context, to me, that's not acceptable,” Morales had said.
Duterte said he was trying hard not to say something against Morales, with whom he is related to by affinity. Morales, whose nephew Mans Carpio is married to Duterte's daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte.
“Nagpipigil ako kasi your brother is my balae,” he said.
Reacting to Duterte's tirades, Morales said in a statement that she "is amused by so much ado about something she did NOT say."
She said she is standing by her answer in the interview "which she says is correct."
"Her answer was 'goading people to kill irrespective of the context is, to me, unacceptable.' She did not say anything about any law against threatening criminals," the statement read.
"The president should review what she said first. Beyond this the Ombudsman does not find it necessary to say anything more," it added.