President Duterte appeared to take responsibility for extrajudicial killings, saying they were the only “sin” that he is guilty of.
Speaking during an oath taking at the Malacañang today (Thursday, September 27), the president said: “Ano kasalanan ko? Nagnakaw ba ako diyan ni piso? Did I prosecute somebody na pinakulong ko? Ang kasalan ko lang ‘yung extrajudicial killings.”
[Translation: What is my sin? Did I steal even one peso? Did I prosecute somebody who I ordered jailed? My sin is extrajudicial killings.]
Local and international human rights groups have strongly criticised the government’s war on drugs, which they claim has resulted in more than 13,000 deaths.
According to government figures, 4,000 have been killed in anti-drug operations. The official line has been that the victims all fought back against police.
However, today, the president offered an alternative reason for the deaths. “Four thousand deaths. When? Where? How? What did they use?” he asked. He then said that it was “ninja cops” — rogue officers involved in the drug trade — who were responsible for the killings.
“They are the ones killing yung hindi ka makaremit sa kanila (those who can’t remit to them). It’s an organised crime actually,” he said.
The president again lashed out at the International Criminal Court (ICC) which is looking into the alleged extrajudicial killings in the Philippines.
“That extrajudicial killing, these fools, especially the black person, whoever, I’ll hit the head of that prosecutor.
“You are actually exercising functions that you are not supposed to do, which belongs to the government. At the very least, you are committing usurpation of authority,” he said.
The Malacañang has refused to cooperate with the ICC’s preliminary examination and announced the country’s exit from the international body.
In a Tweet today, former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay called on the ICC to take note of the president’s words.
“Here’s the President of the Republic of the Philippines, making a public admission of crimes under your jurisdiction. Please act asap,” he wrote.