By Genalyn Kabiling
A drug-free community will be President Duterte’s “gift” to the Filipino nation when he ends his six-year term in 2022.
Unfazed by human rights criticisms on his war on drugs, the President said he was determined to kill those who destroy the nation with illegal drugs.
“You know the presidency is a gift from God. Sigurado ‘yan. Ako, my gift to the Filipino people, I will — linisin ko ito talaga before I go out. And I’ll give you a drug-free community. That will be my gift to you,” he said.
“I am asking all of you who make life miserable for the people in the city, go out because if you destroy my city, I will kill you,” he said.
Duterte also said he was ready to land in jail for his relentless war on drugs but he disputed the alleged 70,000 death toll claimed by some human rights groups. He insisted that he would take responsibility only for the 1,400 suspects slain in the government’s anti-drug operations.
“Ang pinatay ng namin, ang sabi ng pulis 1,400. Oo ‘yan, amin ‘yan. Akin ‘yan, ako ang nag-utos. Ako ang magpakulong. I said that is my gift to you,” he said.
“I will go to prison. So? Ubusin ko talaga itong mga ito [I will finish off all of you],” he added.
The President remained steadfast in the anti-drug campaign despite facing a possible trial for the alleged abuses before the International Criminal Court (ICC).
The ICC recently said it would continue the preliminary examination into the “communications” submitted to the court on the alleged crimes committed in the drug war in the country. The inquiry seeks to establish whether or not the ICC has jurisdiction, and if crimes against humanity had been committed.
The ICC was acting on the communications filed by lawyer Jude Sabio, Senator Antonio Trillanes IV and Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano who alleged Duterte was responsible for the extrajudicial killings.
Malacañang however dismissed the ICC preliminary examination into the drug war, saying it was an exercise of futility.
“The ICC is free to proceed with its undertakings,” Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said.
“We, however, reiterate that as far as we are concerned, the Philippines never became a State Party to the Rome Statute which created the ICC. Thus, we will treat this tribunal as nonexistent and its action a futile exercise,” he added.
Panelo also said any action of the ICC on the country was an insult to the country’s justice system and an infringement upon the country’s sovereignty.
President Duterte recently withdrew the country’s membership from the ICC effective immediately due alleged violations of due process amid the probe on his drug war.