Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte says it was Filipinos – and not him nor his family – who “benefitted” from the deaths in his administration’s drug war.
Duterte insisted on this in his taped weekly briefing with interior secretary Eduardo Ano that aired late on August 2 in an expletive-laden rant about human rights advocates’ criticisms of the drug war.
“Let’s assume that what they say about human rights [violations] is true. [Expletive]. Who benefitted? Me? Was it me who benefitted?” Duterte said in Filipino. “My family? Did they benefit from those [expletive] dead? Who benefitted? It’s you, your children. It’s our country that benefitted.”
“Who was put in danger? It’s me, my family, their lives. They [relatives of the dead] will seek revenge. I’m not a millionaire who has a squad behind to guard me. It’s me who has a problem now. Those who benefitted, in truth, are you Filipinos.”
Ano said the drug war would continue right through the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) that will be enforced from August 6-20 in the so-called NCR Plus – composed of Metro Manila and the provinces of Bulacan, Rizal, Cavite and Laguna – due to the rising cases of the more transmissible Delta variant of the novel coronavirus.
“The campaign against illegal drugs will continue until they [drug dealers] are all gone, even if we are facing a pandemic at this time,” he said in Filipino.
According to the interior secretary, the “hard lockdown” would require support and cooperation to achieve maximum effect and halt the spread of the virus, especially of the Delta variant.
Ano has already ordered stricter border control in the region, ordering the placement of quarantine control points at the borders of Bulacan, Rizal, Cavite and Laguna.
Once the region is under ECQ, the control points will be transferred within the borders of Metro Manila.
The number of those killed in drug war operations stood at 6,165 from the time Duterte took office until July 28, according to official records of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).
Other sources have higher figures, such as the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), which put the number of deaths at 8,663 as of March last year.
Still other human rights organizations pegged the death toll at over 20,000.
According to a recent study conducted by the University of the Philippines, the Duterte administration’s drug war has killed an average of two people a day.
PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER/ASIA NEWS NETWORK