SOME 400 people have been killed in the Philippines’ war on narcotics over the past few weeks, and though President Duterte has admitted that there have been abuses by enforcers, he maintained that he would not retract the shoot-to-kill order for drug suspects.
Duterte said in a speech late Thursday that most drug dealers and addicts slain in gunbattles with police had put up a fight, but added that he was sure some were “salvaged,” a local term for extrajudicial killings usually by law enforcers.
In the case of illegal killings, Duterte said the government will investigate.
Early Friday, he said he gave “shoot-to-kill” orders against drug dealers, including politicians involved in the illicit trade.
A legal expert, Jose Manuel Diokno, says such an order is, at the least, legally questionable.
According to the Inquirer, Duterte said he would provide “protection” towards state forces involved in shooting incidents.
“For as long as it is done in the performance of the duty by the police and soldiers, that is my responsibility, that is my official and personal guarantee,” he was quoted as saying in an interview on Friday.
“If there are police involved in an encounter, do not investigate them anymore, that is my order,” he added.
On Wednesday, six armed bodyguards of a town mayor linked to the drug trade in the Philippines were shot dead in a clash with police commandos.
The clash comes a day after Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. surrendered to national police chief Ronald dela Rosa.
Previously, the Philippine National Police tagged the mayor and his son as illegal drug manufacturers and traffickers. Duterte earlier issued made a “shoot on sight” order against both the mayor and his son for their ties to the drug trade.
“Shoot to kill is to shoot and kill him. I don’t want the police wasting bullets,” Duterte said in clarifying his orders.
Additional reporting from the Associated Press