Philippine president vows anti-drug war campaign will continue, International Criminal Court ‘cannot stop me’ death toll passes 8,000 mark

Duterte has repeatedly said if lives of law enforcers are in danger they should ‘shoot’ suspects

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has said he would not be intimidated by the prospect of the International Criminal Court (ICC) putting him on trial over his bloody war on drugs, promising that his campaign would continue and would be “brutal”.

“I will not be intimidated and I shall not be stopped just by what? International Criminal Court? Impeachment? If that is part of my destiny, it is my destiny to go,” Duterte told reporters on Sunday, shortly before leaving for Myanmar.

“The drive against corruption, criminality and drugs will resume and it will continue and it will be brutal,” he said. 

“I will not be, for a moment, be out of focus on that. I rose on what I promised and I will fall on that.”

More than 8,000 people have died since Duterte took office on June 30 last year, and began his anti-drugs campaign.

A third of the fatalities were killed in raids and sting operations by police who say they acted in self-defence, while the rest were killed by unknown gunmen.  

Rights groups said many of the deaths were assassinations of drugs users with police complicity, allegations that authorities have denied. 

But a self-confessed assassin who testified to being in a “death squad” under Duterte, when he was mayor of Davao City, is expected to file a case at the ICC this month or in April, accusing the president of crimes against humanity, his lawyer said recently.

Criminals can ‘go first’

Duterte said he would never “condone the killing of a criminal person arrested with outstretched arms, begging for his life, or what is popularly known as extrajudicial killings.”

“Follow the law and we are alright. Drop shabu and nobody will die tomorrow,” Duterte said. Shabu is the street name for the highly addictive crystal methamphetamine that the government blames for most of the serious crimes in the Philippines.

But Duterte warned: “If you place the guys lives in jeopardy … my order is to shoot you.”

He said he would rather see “thousands or millions of criminals go first”, than see security forces killed in the anti-narcotics war.

Two men, including the one who is expected to file the ICC case, have testified before the Philippine Senate saying they were part of an alleged “death squad” in Davao that killed at Duterte’s behest.

But Senate members found no proof of extra-judicial killings and death squads.

The “death squad” and allegations of drugs-related extrajudicial killings were also among the reasons for an impeachment complaint filed by an opposition lawmaker in Congress against Duterte on Thursday.

Duterte said he was not ruling out the possibility that “scalawags in government who are trying to silence guys dealing with them” were behind these extrajudicial executions.

3 Responses to Philippine president vows anti-drug war campaign will continue, International Criminal Court ‘cannot stop me’ death toll passes 8,000 mark

  1. lustorlife March 20, 2017 at 7:41 am

    I’ve lived in the Philippines for many years. My neighbor, who I’ve never known to have done drugs was killed. I’ve seen bodies in the rain out as warning signs against drug users and dealers, and that was only on a vacation there recently. It isn’t nice, it isn’t pretty, but one things for certain. People are now listening.

    Lots of politicians have tried to pass laws to clean up the streets, to get drugs out of the hands of children, but Dueterte, by far, has been the most successful. The drug problem is Philippines is huge, it gets down deep in the squalor and invests like a weed until it chokes out the beauty of the Philippines. There is a reason his approval rating is so high, locally, and it’s because people are tired of the seeing overdose cases in hospitals already way too filled to handle them all, kids in the street getting high from shibu (kinda like meth), heroine, Crack, etc, and all the violent the drug rings have caused.

    I’m not necessarily pro-dueterte, but he has changed the community, and for those that actually live in the Phillipines, they see it as good. Growing pains to create a better society from the drug infested squalor it currently is. If you live in a first world country where treatment is (relatively) cheap, and drugs are more pure and aren’t cut with dangerous, cheaper ingredients that are more addictive or have worse effects, then maybe you wouldn’t understand, it’s bad, but it isn’t as bad as it is there.

    If you’ve met a Filipino, youd probably know them to be fun loving, kind, or hospitable. These are things we pride ourselves over, and if a vast majority support a mass murderer? Well maybe you’re just looking in to our world from a peephole, and haven’t seen the whole picture yet

  2. Howard Collardt March 20, 2017 at 7:42 am

    Rodrigo Duterte has declared war on drug lords in the Philippines. However, he tends to contradict himself often leading to a lot of extreme confusion and controversy.

    On drug abusers: He is building mega-rehabilitation centers via public-private partnerships in the Philippines and has committed to increase spending on medication for drug abusers but he has also made threats to them.

    On drug traffickers/dealers: He has told police to apprehend drug traffickers and shoot only in self-defense to respect the rule of law. Yet he has also made controversial death threats and seems to condone or at least “do a Pontius Pilate” with regards to the fact that far more suspected drug traffickers are killed by vigilantes and rogue cops than in legitimate police operations (with arrest warrants).

    When asked how to rectify such confusing statements to have drug suspects killed, Philippine National Police Chief Ronald dela Rosa claims that there is no formal policy to kill drug suspects on sight and that Duterte’s statements are part of the Philippine government’s plan to use “psychological warfare” to scare criminals from continuing their operations. In truth, the number of surrenders (807,659) and arrests (37,449) dwarfs the number who are killed (1,959 in legitimate police operations and 2,646 others were victims of summary execution by vigilantes as of Nov. 23, bringing the total to 4,605 dead since President Duterte took office in July. That said, there has not been much serious commitment yet by the Philippine government to subdue vigilante groups which has led to criticism.

  3. Rossy Lopez March 20, 2017 at 7:44 am

    I’m filipino but I’m fairly young (20) and based on our grandparent’s stories, davao (the city where duterte was originaly a mayor) was a nightmare before he was elected mayor, there were mass murders, robberies, rapes and even stories where people are being hostaged inside their own homes for a day or two with the police unable to do anything about it because the’yre outnumbered and outgunned, corrupt, or too busy responding to other crimes.

    It was the norm to carry a firearm when going out for groceries or doing anything outside your house really. My father said he always had a sidearm when going out and it always made him look cool because he’s a very thin guy and his pistol would pop out when he’s wearing a shirt. My Grandfather also had an arsenal of hunting rifles and shotguns, it was very cheap at that time. It’s not like in the U.S when you have guns to protect you in your own home, no, in kDavao you needed guns so people dont fuck with you when you’re outside.

    Education was not the priority for young people, my father once told me growing up they had 3 career options, Military/Police, Criminal or Rebel Group. He was lucky enough to obtain a U.S visa and got the fuck out of Davao in his early twenties. He told stories about his classmates meeting each other on the opposite sides of the battlefield and classmates arresting classmates on the street. Only the rich can afford a higher education and they almost always go for politics so they’re family names would go richer and more powerful.

    Davao was and still ruled by the elite, like the illumnati or something. Powerful families used to be above the law (still are depending on how big a scandal) and when you’re friends with them you’re automatically powerful yourself so people would do anything just to befriend them, like a Policeman killing a Journalist just to keep a family secret from exposing, it was not a rare thing back then, even now.

    Duterte wasn’t the sole reason Davao got better, the Edsa Revolution was also a huge thing. It brought democracy to the Philippines and the whole country got a little peaceful. The Government changed but society as a whole remained the same.
    Duterte did things differently, he killed criminals. In your eyes he’s a mass murderer, dictator or ruthless but in our eyes he’s the reason we are able to pursue what we want in life, not just trying to protect ourselves from criminals, he removed that from the equation. People are now free to be doctors, engineers etc without having to worry about safety and what was practical at that time (Police or Politician that was it). We are able to walk at night, drink outside, party or do stupid shit without being worried about getting mugged on the way home.

    I cant stress how safe Davao is right now, It’s probably safer than most big cities. I grew up in Davao so trust me. I always partied downtown most of the time ti’ll the morning, walked on shady streets and neighborhoods, scored weed on public housing areas (cheaper there). there are still areas where crime is abundant but if you grew up in Davao you’d know where those areas are and if you just stay away from those you’re fine, It’s like the crime is quarantined and it doesnt go outside of it.

    Duterte’s way is brutal and unorthodox, he looks shady and unprofesional but his strategy works. he’s not as clean as what other filipinos might tell you though, I guarantee he also has dirt on him but the good outweights the bad and of course he wants personal gain he’s only human after all and it’s human instict to want things, I’m not saying it’s okay but to be honest we’re used to our politicians being corrupt and at this point we’re kinda just electing the least corrupt ones.

    If you’re concerned about the criminals (including politicians), I dont really know what to say. they’re a big reason the countries progress has stopped and I’m glad Duterte is getting rid them. Slowly we will learn to do things the right way, first we just have to learn that selling drugs or mugging is not the way to go.
    he also has a huge fight against corrupt politicians at the moment and it’s causing huge scandals in the Philippine Government. check out Delima, A Senator for years who’s recently being investigated for drug manufacture and destribution, she has deep ties with elites and has been doing it for years, never had a problem until Duterte became President. It’s not only her there are loads of other cases who are only now getting attention after Duterte.

    Duterte is a band aid, he’s paving a way (maybe unknowingly) for better more honest and good people to jump start the country to not just improve economically but as a society as a whole.

    If you grew up in a first world country you might have an Idea what it’s like but trust me you don’t know a thing. you grew up with rules and laws and an instruction manual on how to life, but us, we are still learning, slowly. so please understand that we need this, it might be bad but it’s working. Davao is a testament of it’s effectiveness, look at our other cities better yet try living in one of them, after that move in Davao then tell me I dont have a point.

    I wanted to share more stories and opinions but I’m afraid I’m not gonna be able to explain them thoroughly in English.


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