President Duterte reiterates resolution to fight drugs

President Rodrigo Duterte has expressed his willingness to lose his life, his honor and the presidency just to perform his duty to the nation as he faces a complaint over alleged extrajudicial killings tied to his brutal war on illegal drugs.

“I said I will deal with drugs because it is growing and they are destroying my country. Ginagawa ko kaya nagkakaso-kaso ngayon (Complaints have been filed because I am doing it),” Duterte said.

The President was referring to the complaint filed by Jude Sabio, lawyer of Edgar Matobato, who claimed to be a former hit man of a death squad with alleged ties to Duterte. Sabio accused the President of ordering the killing of 1,400 people in Davao City, where Duterte served as mayor for more than two decades. Sabio also alleged that the government’s war on narcotics has left 7,000 drug suspects dead.

A preliminary examination will be conducted by the Iinternational Criminal Court (ICC) to verify Sabio’s allegations. Sabio’s allegation about drug-related deaths is being refuted by the police, which claimed that only about 2,200 of the more than 19,000 “homicide cases” recorded since 2016 were tied to narcotics.

The police said that the campaign against illegal drugs has led to the arrest of more than 102,000 drug personalities and the filing of more than 42,000 criminal cases.

The opposition agreed on the ICC pronouncement saying it should make Duterte realize that he is not above the law. Malacañang has belittled the development, expressing confidence that the complaint would not prosper because the narcotics crackdown was a legitimate law enforcement effort.

Duterte said in his speech last February that he would pursue his war on illegal drugs until his last day in office.

“The war on drugs will not stop and will last until the day I step down. If I go to prison, I will go to prison,” the President said in a speech in Cebu City last February 2, 2018.

“If you want to execute me, look for a country that allows the execution of prisoner by firing squad,” he added.

The President also reiterated his promise to eradicate corruption and improve the law and order situation in the country. He said corruption in government must be stopped because it is pulling the country down.

“I will deal with corruption. So I am fulfilling (it), I am already doing it,” the President said.

The President also vowed to promote law and order by “talking to the enemies of the state.”

“I’m trying to maintain equilibrium here in Mindanao between the varying forces arrayed against the government,” he added.

The President previously said he might allow the private ownership of high-powered firearms if the terrorist threat in the country worsens and the influence of the Islamic State (IS) group spills over to Luzon.

Duterte declared martial law in Mindanao after IS-linked terrorists laid siege to Marawi City on May 23, 2017. Congress, which is dominated by Duterte’s allies, has agreed to extend military rule until the end of the year.

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