Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 23) — He had stood behind, and even commended, policemen when two mayors on his narco-list were killed. He had also lauded cops for killing dozens during last week’s series of “one time, big time” drug raids.
But the death of 17-year-old Kian delos Santos in the hands of Caloocan City police was an entirely different matter.
Related: NPD director removed from post a week after Kian’s death
President Rodrigo Duterte made this distinction Wednesday when he visited a solar energy factory in Batangas.
Duterte, who had time and again repeated that he would not allow any policeman to go to jail for doing their job, said his assurance did not apply to those killing in cold blood.
“You are not allowed to kill a person who is kneeling down, begging for his life. That is murder,” he said. “Let us be clear on this.”
The President went as far as citing instances of how policemen, who had gone through four years of schooling as law enforcers, should “calibrate” their response to a threat.
“If he’s just using a stick or a bat, then you immobilize him. Shoot him in the hand,” he said. “If he’s using a gun or a bolo or a knife, and you think that your life is in danger, that will justify the policeman to kill you.”
Duterte said what happened to Kian “was really bad” as it was not a case of policemen performing their duty — but what they did was a “crime.”
He said upon learning what had happened to the minor, and after seeing the CCTV footage, he immediately called up the Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief.
“Hindi lang alam ng media (The media was unaware), but right after it happened, I called Bato (dir. Gen. Ronald dela Rosa). ‘Arrest the guys and place them in jail to wait for inquest.’ At tuluy-tuloy na ‘yan (push through with the case) if it’s murder.”
The 72-year-old former mayor also said he had ordered the National Bureau of Investigation to launch its own probe independent of the PNP’s.
Change not coming
The country’s first president from Mindanao, who catapulted to Malacañang on his promise of “Change is coming,” said this was not the case for his style of fighting the war on drugs — much to the dismay and outrage of human rights groups here and abroad.
“Gusto mo, barilin mo ako. But I will not change my policy. Criticisms, media… I will not retreat, hanggang hindi ito matapos ang droga at ang mga victims (not until this drug menace is finished).”
Related: Duterte fires back: Killing criminals not crime vs humanity
Duterte then recapped his three campaign promises.
“And I repeat, I will not allow corruption… Drugs, criminality because it destroys the nation.”
Updated 18:35 PM PHT Fri, August 25, 2017