President Rodrigo Duterte said he’ll keep his hands off any investigation launched into alleged illegal drug ties of his son and son-in-law.
The President made the remarks in response to a challenge by one of his critics Senator Leila de Lima, to have his son, Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo “Pulong” Duterte, and son-in law Manases Carpio investigated.
“Who would believe me if I investigate my son and my son-in-law? Ikaw [You], can you investigate your mother or father? I leave it to the independent agencies — there’s the Human Rights, which is making all the noise, and they have the NBI,” Duterte said in a press conference late Tuesday upon his arrival from a two-day official visit to Japan.
De Lima on Monday said that Duterte is not interested in catching “real drug lords,” and is using the war on drugs as a “platform for vengeance” against political opponents. She has been detained at the Philippine National Police’s custodial center since February on charges that she abetted the illegal drug trade in the national penitentiary during her term as Justice Secretary.
The President reiterated an earlier statement that his children, if guilty, would not be spared from punishment in the administration’s anti-drug campaign.
“If they are really guilty, then so be it. Di ba sinabi ko na sa inyo noong Mayor ako? Anong order ko sa pulis? ‘Barilin ninyo maski anak ko.’ And that statement remains. Barilin mo,” he said.
[Translation:”If they are really guilty, then so be it. Didn’t I tell you when I was mayor? What was my order to the police? ‘Shoot them, even if they’re my children.’ And that statement remains. Shoot them.]
Vice Mayor Duterte and Carpio were earlier linked by a Bureau of Customs fixer to the so-called Davao Group, which takes bribes to facilitate the release of shipments at customs. However, the fixer later cleared both of any involvement in smuggling operations.
Sara Duterte not interested in running for President
The President also denied rumors his daughter, Davao City Mayor and wife of Manases Carpio, Sara Duterte, plans to run for president.
“Inday is not interested. You know, I’m telling you the truth. She did not really want to be Mayor. And I have a letter of her resignation,” he pointed out.
The presidential daughter recently led the launch of the Tapang at Malasakit Alliance for the Philippines to promote positive political debates among Filipinos.
The move sparked speculation that the mayor was preparing for the 2019 polls — something she denied.
The President said that on July 1, 2016, he received a resignation letter from his daughter. He added he had to fly back to Davao to talk her into staying in her post.
“And sabi ko, ‘Well, alam mo [What I said was, ‘you know’], if we are elected, it’s really the voice of the people asking us.'” Duterte said, recounting the conversation.
“Total eleksyon naman ‘to [This is an election]. And if you are the winner of the huge majority, then you can say that the voice of the people is the voice of God,” he said.
The President expressed support for her initiative to reach out to communist rebels in the area.
CNN Philippines’ Senior Correspondent David Santos contributed to this report
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