Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday night said that he has no problem with being held responsible for the many killings under his crackdown on drugs, and that he is ready to face charges that could land him in jail, but not charges of crimes against humanity.
Duterte’s televised remarks were among his clearest acknowledgement of the prospects that he could face a deluge of criminal charges for the bloody campaign he launched after taking office in the middle of 2016.
Police have reported that at least 5,856 drug suspects have been killed in raids and more than 256,000 others arrested since the start of the crackdown.
Human rights groups have accused authorities of considerably underreporting the deaths.
“If there’s killing there, I’m saying I’m the one... You can hold me responsible for anything, any death that has occurred in the execution of the drug war,” Duterte said. “If you get killed, it’s because I’m enraged by drugs. If that’s what I’m saying, bring me to court to be imprisoned. Fine, I have no problem. If I serve my country by going to jail, gladly.”
At least two complaints for crimes against humanity and mass murder in connection with Duterte’s campaign are being examined by an International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor, who is to determine whether there is enough evidence to open a full-scale investigation.
Two years ago, Duterte responded to the complaints by withdrawing the Philippines from the world tribunal, a move that human rights groups said was a major setback in the nation’s battle against impunity.
The ICC prosecutor has said that the examination into the drug killings would continue, despite the Philippines’ withdrawal.
When did “drugs become humanity?” Duterte said, framing his remarks by portraying the drug menace as a national security and public threat, such as the decades-long communist insurgency that the government is obligated to quell.
“If this is allowed to go on and on, and if no decisive action is taken against them, it will endanger the security of the state,” he said.
“When you save your country from the perdition of the people like the NPAs [New People’s Army] and drugs, you are doing a sacred duty,” he said.
There are 1.6 million drug addicts in the Philippines, Duterte said, citing statistics from an anti-narcotics agency.
The figure is much smaller than the 4 million addicts that he cited the police as reporting early in his presidency to justify his crackdown.
Drug killings that did not happen during police operations should not be blamed on him, Duterte said, adding that those deaths might have been set off by gang rivalries or a settling of scores.
There have been widespread suspicions of extrajudicial killings in the crackdown, allegations that Duterte and the police deny.
In 2018, a court convicted three police officers of murdering a 17-year-old student after witnesses and a security video disproved their claim that the suspect was shot after violently resisting, a common reason cited by police officers after drug suspects are killed.
Former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger said the incoming administration of US president-elect Joe Biden should move quickly to restore lines of communication with China that frayed during US President Donald Trump’s term or risk a crisis that could escalate into military conflict. “Unless there is some basis for some cooperative action, the world will slide into a catastrophe comparable to World War I,” Kissinger said during the opening session of the Bloomberg New Economy Forum. He said military technologies available today would make such a crisis “even more difficult to control” than those of earlier eras. “America and China are
14 GRIEVANCES: Australia’s values, democracy and sovereignty ‘are not up for trade,’ the prime minister said, after Beijing accused Canberra of poisoning bilateral relations Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he would not compromise national security and sovereignty, as Beijing ramped up its criticism of his government and warned it against making China an enemy. “Australia will always be ourselves,” Morrison said in a television interview yesterday with the Nine Network. “We will always set our own laws and our own rules according to our national interests — not at the behest of any other nation, whether that’s the US or China or anyone else.” A Chinese diplomat in Canberra gave a document to Australian media outlets outlining 14 grievances and accusing Canberra of “poisoning bilateral
For thousands of years, the dainty Fritillaria delavayi has grown slowly on the rocky slopes of the Hengduan mountains in China, producing a bright green flower after its fifth year. The conspicuous small plant has one deadly enemy: people, who harvest the flower for traditional Chinese medicine. As commercial harvesting has intensified, Fritillaria delavayi has vanished — by rapidly evolving to produce gray and brown leaves and flowers that cannot be so easily seen by pickers. Scientists have discovered that the color of the plant’s leaves has become more camouflaged — matching the background rocks on which they grow — in areas where
On the morning of Oct. 23, a 56-year-old employee at West Japan Railway was inspecting trains when he encountered an Asian black bear just outside Tsuruga Station in Japan’s northwestern Fukui Prefecture. He escaped with just a scratch, but about 10 minutes later, the same bear fractured the leg of a worker at a nearby construction site. Four days before the incident, a male bear entered a four-story shopping center in neighboring Ishikawa Prefecture. The 1.3m-tall bear holed up in a storage room for 13 hours, until it was shot by a local hunting group. Between April and September, wild bears were spotted 13,670