Duterte: My only sin are extrajudicial killings

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 27) — President Rodrigo Duterte seemed to have admitted his shortcoming on alleged extrajudicial killings (EJKs).

"Ano kasalanan ko? Nagnakaw ba ko diyan ni piso?... Ang kasalanan ko lang, yung mga extrajudicial killing," Duterte said in a speech during the recognition of career service professionals in Malacañang on Thursday.

[Translation: What is my sin? Did I steal even a peso? My only sin are extrajudicial killings.]

 

Local and international human rights groups have criticized the government's bloody war on drugs, which they said resulted in more than 13,000 EJKs. Government data show more than 4,000 were killed in anti-drug operations, but Malacañang has repeatedly said these were not state-sanctioned.

"Four thousand deaths. When? Where? How? What did they use?" Duterte said. He said ninja cops, or police officers involved in drug operations, may be responsible for these killings.

"They are the ones killing yung hindi ka makaremit sa kanila (those who can't remit to them). It's an organized crime actually," he said.

Duterte hits ICC, critics

Duterte again lashed out at the International Criminal Court (ICC) which is looking into alleged extrajudicial killings in the country.

"You are actually exercising functions that you are not supposed to do, (which) belongs to the government. At the very least, you are committing usurpation of authority," Duterte said.

Malacañang refused to cooperate with the ICC's preliminary examination, which will determine whether there is cause to go on a full-blown investigation.

Former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay in a tweet called on the ICC to take note of Duterte's latest pronouncement.

"Here's the President of the Republic of the Philippines, making a public admission of crimes under your jurisdiction. Please act asap," Hilbay said.

 

Duterte said even Jordanian King Abdullah II told him to ignore his cousin, United Nations High Commissioner Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, who has made public statements against the Duterte administration. 

"Do not mind that brother… I don't even like him, he's a fake," Duterte recalled the king telling him. Duterte visited Jordan early September.

Al-Hussein earlier called Duterte out for ordering the police to ignore investigators of the country's drug war and even said the President should see a psychiatrist after the government asked a Manila court to declare over 600 people, including human rights advocates, as terrorists.

What are EJKs?

While there is no clear-cut definition of extrajudicial killings, Malacañang in October 2017 said it still follows the operational guidelines of Administrative Order No. 35, which created an inter-agency committee on extralegal killings in 2012.

Under this order, a killing is considered extrajudicial when "the victim was targeted and killed because of the actual or perceived membership, advocacy, or profession."

Then Justice Secretary Leila de Lima issued these guidelines in April 2013.

De Lima, now a senator fighting the Duterte administration and detained over drug charges, has filed a bill seeking to define and end extrajudicial killings.

Senate Bill 1197 defines extrajudicial killing as "the unlawful, and deliberate killing of targeted individuals or groups thereof, carried out by agents of the State and under its order or acquiescence in lieu of arrest, investigation and prosecution."

"Extrajudicial killing includes summary killings perpetrated by private individuals for purposes of carrying out on their own or in the context of vigilantism, a campaign or policy of the State," it further states.