THE Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa has vowed war against those who attempt to bring president Rodrigo Duterte’s administration down.
Local media reports said this amid investigations by the International Criminal Court (ICC) on Duterte’s bloody crackdown on narcotics which has left thousands of drug suspects dead since he took office in mid-2016.
Telling the detractors to “get lost”, dela Rosa said they cannot bring down a president elected by the people whose reported trust rating is 83 percent.
“You want to bring down the Duterte administration? Over my dead body,” he said on Saturday, as quoted by the Inquirer. “It’s up to you. If you want war, I’m daring you. If you want to launch coup d’etat, do it. Let’s make war. Do not threaten me.”
Dela Rosa said the police would not fall into a “trap” set up in the ICC investigation.
“For all you know, that investigation started because of efforts to slander the President. That is politically-motivated. And now you keep giving information until you fall into their trap. We will seek the help of the legal service to know what should be done, what is legal, and what is right.”
Dela Rosa steered clear of declaring whether or not the PNP would provide substantial information to the ICC on the anti-drug campaign, but said the investigation might be used by anti-Duterte forces to infiltrate the administration.
Duterte’s signature drug war began in June 2016 and has been widely condemned by rights groups, political opponents and the Catholic church in the Philippines.
Human Rights Watch estimated this month that more than 12,000 people have been killed by police and plain-clothed gunmen since the anti-drug campaign began. Official statistics put the number of dead at around 4000.
Lawyer Jude Sabio lodged a complaint with the ICC last April claiming that Duterte had “repeatedly, unchangingly and continuously” committed crimes against humanity.
Amnesty International has recently called for an investigation by the ICC into drug war killings, claiming that “the Philippines neither can nor should try to solve its drug problems at gunpoint.”
Duterte was “sick and tired” of being accused of crimes against humanity said Malacañang presidential palace, Harry Roque, claiming that attempts to prosecute him at the ICC would fail.
Additional reporting by Reuters