President Duterte has praised the provincial police force that gunned down 32 drug suspects on Monday, while also threatening to shoot human rights advocates.
In a speech today (Wednesday, August 16), the president said: “The ones who died recently in Bulacan, 32, in a massive raid, that was good.
“If we could kill another 32 everyday, then maybe we can reduce what ails this country.”
Also during his speech to members of the pro-Duterte Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) the president turned his fire on human rights groups, saying: “Tell them, ‘Police, shoot those who are part of it’.
“If they are obstructing justice, you shoot them. So they can really see the kinds of human rights.”
The president also repeated his frequent complaint that watchdog groups do not comment on criminal cases, despite these being beyond their remit.
Referring to the rape and murder of a one-year-old girl, he asked: “Where was the human rights? They could not even utter it in public. ‘Look, do not do that to me’, says human rights groups.
“Nothing. Then when it comes to criminals, you will proclaim, ‘human rights violations’.
“The human rights groups are now investigating. One of these days, you human rights groups, I will also investigate you. That’s the truth. For conspiracy.”
Shock and awe
Earlier today, Bulacan police chief Romeo Caramat held a press conference in Manila to publicise the bloody raids, in which 109 suspects were also arrested.
“We wanted to shock and awe these drug personalities,” he said.
“Other drug personalities will think twice before continuing with their drug trade.”
He added that his officers had killed the suspects in self defence after being fired on.
When asked how no police had been injured during the operations, he replied: “Don’t ask me to explain.”
Police have killed 3,450 people in similar drug raids since President Duterte came to office little more than a year ago, according to government data.
More than 2,000 other people have been killed in drug-related crimes and thousands more murdered in unexplained circumstances, according to police data.
Rights groups accuse police and state-sanctioned vigilantes of carrying out mass murder as they follow the president’s orders to eradicate drug traffickers and addicts.
During his election campaign, he said he would be “happy to slaughter” three million, pledging that he would win the war on drugs within three to six months.
However, in recent speeches he has conceded that it would not be possible within a such a short time.
Today, he repeated that there were no quick solutions to the drug war because the problem had been allowed to become too deeply ingrained in society.
“Little did I know that the police who are supposed to be on my side, they were on the other side,” he said.
“And little did I realise that the very agency that I was relying on to protect us from the smuggling of drugs from abroad, was the one importing the drugs.”