Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte speaks during the change of command for the new Armed Forces chief at a military camp in Quezon city, Metro Manila, December 7, 2016. REUTERS/Erik De Castro
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte risks impeachment after he admitted “personally” killing criminals when he was the mayor of Davao City, said two Philippine senators.
The firebrand leader boasted to business leaders on Monday that as Davao City mayor he used to prowl the streets on a big motorcycle looking for “an encounter to kill” just to show to local law enforcers he can do it.
“I used to do it personally,” Duterte said. “If I can do it why can’t you?”
More than 2,000 people have been killed in police anti-drug operations since Duterte became president in July. Almost all were shot when they resisted arrest.
Another 3,000 deaths are under investigation, with critics calling them vigilante killings.
Senator Leila de Lima, a staunch critic of Duterte, said the president’s admission could be a ground for impeachment.
“That is betrayal of public trust and that constitutes high crimes because mass murders certainly fall into the category of high crimes. And high crimes is a ground for impeachment under the constitution,” de Lima told CNN on Thursday.
Senator Richard Gordon, who heads the senate justice committee, also said Duterte opened himself to possible impeachment proceedings following his controversial comments.
“When he says that, he’s opening himself up, so what’s the legal way, then go ahead and impeach him,” he told reporters, adding he was not surprised by the statement.
Duterte’s allies in Congress dared the president’s opponents and critics to file an impeachment motion, saying removing the leader through a political process is a numbers game.
There are less than 50 opposition lawmakers in the 293-member lower house of Congress. A two-thirds vote is needed to impeach a president.
Peter Wallace, who organized the business forum where Duterte spoke, thought the president’s statement was his “usual bravado.”
“He talked as he often does about drugs, and killings and criminality. And we had expected that he would but we were there not to listen to that,” Wallace told Reuters by phone.
“We were there to talk to him or listen to him about business issues and I was pleased that…he moved on to those subjects,” he said.
Justice Minister Vitaliano Aguirre dismissed Duterte’s statement as an exaggeration.
“It’s like a hyperbole, that’s the president, he is used to exaggerate just to put his message across,” Aguirre was quoted in radio reports as saying on Thursday.
Even if that were true, Aquirre said it did not necessarily mean that he violated the law.
“It could be done with a justifiable cause and justified circumstances as a public officer in order to arrest but if they resisted. He must have been forced,” Aquirre said, referring to Duterte. — Reuters
NBI to look into ‘sabotage’ issue in recent decoupling of MRT train coaches
MANILA, Philippines — Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre saw basis in the allegation of sabotage in the recent mishap in the operation of MRT which involved decoupling of coaches.
Aguirre explained it would be impossible for the trains to detach on its own without human intervention.
He argued the trains could not detach easily even though glitches occur.
“The specific order is to continue looking into the angle of sabotage because it seems to have a basis. So if there really is no human intervention, it’s really very impossible to happen. But of course, it can happen. But definitely, the NBI seems to find the basis on the sabotage in the said incident,” said Aguirre.
Just this week the MRT-3 formally wrote a letter to the NBI asking for the agency to investigate the incident.
In the letter, MRT management said it is not discounting the possibility of systems failure in the said mishap. However, it said that it is also looking into the angle of human error or negligence.
Meanwhile, Malacañang assured the public that the government is doing all it can to address the problems in the operations of MRT.
Presidential spokesman Secretary Harry Roque said that the government will focus on the problem on transportation like what it did on the country’s concerns on illegal drugs and corruption.
“But we accept the challenge. We are moving forward and we promise a better MRT to our riding public,” said Roque.
The palace official, however, stood firm that the call of some critics for transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade to resign is unreasonable.
“I think the time for Secretary Tugade be removed from his position has not come. He enjoys the full trust and confidence of the President,” said the presidential spokesperson.
Furthermore, the director of operations of MRT-3 management, Engineer Mike Capati, said that the Dahlian trains could not still be used amid the glitches in the operations of the old MRT trains.
“The Dahlian trains is another area of concern because these are not yet cleared. We have no clearance yet to use it. The last time we are still seeking a third-party audit to check whether they can suggest as far as putting in Dalian on the revenue lines,” said the director. — Victor Cosare | UNTV News & Rescue
Duterte says PNP might handle the ‘war on drugs’ again
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, in his speech during the launching of the Department of Agriculture’s partnership with Ayala Malls at the Abreeza Mall in Davao City on November 18, 2017, cites how farmers and fisherfolks could benefit from a government that is compassionate and free from corruption. SIMEON CELI JR./PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO
DAVAO CITY — President Rodrigo Duterte will speak with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) to ask for updates of its operation against illegal drugs.
The President wants to know if the country’s problem with illegal drugs has gotten worse or not.
It can be recalled that President Duterte gave an order last October that PDEA will be the only government agency that will handle the drug war because of the numerous criticisms against the Philippine National Police (PNP) who initially handled the said problem.
But during his speech in Davao City last Saturday, he brought up the possibility of letting PNP handle the war on drugs again.
“The drug problem, if it becomes worse again, the police has to enter the picture. I want it eradicated if possible. I do not tolerate it. It’s an organized crime. Shabu is… drugs is an organized crime,” Duterte said.
He again responded to those who questioned why only the poor is the frequent victim of the government’s drug war. According to the Chief Executive, the poor are victims of shabu.
“They are saying, ‘Why Duterte, there are a lot of poor people dying, no rich?’ There are no rich [ getting killed] because, those people, they do not use shabu because they know it would drive their mind to insanity forever. It’s a chemical,” he said. — Rosalie Coz | UNTV News & Rescue
Duterte wants to proclaim NPA as terrorists
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, in his speech during the closing ceremony of the 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit and Related Summits at the Philippine International Convention Center on November 14, 2017. KING RODRIGUEZ/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO
DAVAO CITY — President Rodrigo Duterte again lambasted the leftist groups especially the New People’s Army (NPA) because of their continued acts of violence, recently.
Including the involvement of a four-month-old infant in an NPA ambush in Bukidnon last November 9.
According to the chief executive, he wants to formalize or announce NPA’s category as a terrorist group and not a rebel group. He also wants to file cases against all group members involved in spreading violence like murder and arson.
“Before, we recognized them as legitimate rebels. But with their continued depredations and killing of innocent people, I’ll be issuing a proclamation. I will remove them from the category of a legal entity or at least a semi-movement which would merit our attention, placing them as, the same with America, — terrorist,” President Duterte said.
Since 2002, the United States has considered CPP-NPA as foreign terrorist organization.
President Duterte also blamed the rebel group for the price hike in common goods.
“Because NPA extorts. Even the farmers pay. It is an added cost to the price. All the businessmen here burned the — but it’s providing work for the countryside and yet they are destroying the very essence of the industry. That is the reason for the increase, they extort,” he added.
With regards to the peace talks, he also questioned the group: why would they talk to him if they consider him a fascist and an anomalous leader.
In the end, the Chief Executive warned that he will strengthen military offensives against the NPA and the groups supporting [these rebels] will also be held accountable.
“Now it’s a great conspiracy between Bayan even the—they are in conspiracy with the rebellion going on. We will study and maybe we will have a crackdown there somewhere. So all of those, pretending to be the — speaking for the people, those quasi-stuff you are talking about, you say it is legitimate and yet you are — I said continuing the depredations, putting industries down and making it hard for the people to make a living,” Duterte said. — Rosalie Coz | UNTV News & Rescue