By Genalyn Kabiling
His critics can try to impeach or even assassinate him but President Duterte has no plan of changing his policy on the government’s crackdown on the illegal drug trade.
The President asserted that he would “not retreat” from the war on drugs even at the cost of his life and presidency.
“Now, you want me to change? No…I’ll be destroyed? Yes. I’ll be impeached? Correct. I am not. I can be impeached. Gusto mo, barilin mo ako [If you want, you can shoot me] but I will not change my policy,” Duterte said during the launch of Solar Philippines factory in Sto. Tomas, Batangas last Wednesday.
“There will be war against drugs because I have to protect, that’s my oath of office, the mass of population… I have that sworn duty to defend the people and protect the Republic,” he said.
Duterte said the country has already become a “narcopolitics state” given the alleged involvement of some government officials, including barangay captains, in the drug trade. He noted the drug trade has also helped bankroll the Maute group in staging a rebellion in Mindanao.
“I will not retreat hanggang hindi ito matapos ang droga [until the drug problem is resolved],” said Duterte.
Duterte insisted that he would strive his best to fulfill his campaign promises on fighting drugs, crime and corruption during his term. “You can assassinate me. You can impeach me or file cases, go ahead. But I will stick with my campaign promise,” he said.
The President, meantime, pledged that he would only protect state forces performing their duty, not those involved in abuses and other offenses.
Duterte acknowledged for the first time that the killing of Kian Delos Santos in Caloocan City was not an example of lawful performance of police duty.
“I’m not justifying ‘yung sa Caloocan. It was really bad. Hindi naman performance of duty ‘yung ganun. Do not commit a crime,” he said.
Delos Santos was among those killed in the massive anti-drug operations conducted by the police last week. The police claimed the teenager shot at them first but video footage and witnesses’ account showed otherwise.
The President has assured punishment for the cops if Delos Santos’ death would be proven to be a rubout.
“I would protect those who are doing their duty. I never promised to protect those who are supposedly engaged in doing their duty but committing a crime in the process — abuses,” the said.