President Rodrigo Duterte told Senator Risa HOntiveros that the deaths of two teenagers Kian dela Rosa and Carl Arnaiz do not prove that his administration has a “policy” of killing drug suspects.
“Do you think two killings, even if it’s illegal, makes a policy? Dalawang patay, palagay lang natin pinatay, murder. I ask Hontiveros, is that already the policy, is that the baseline of the policy? Napakabobo naman niyan,” said Duterte on September 5.
“You ask two killings, and you say that’s a policy? That’s a silly question. Why can’t you just say, ‘What is the policy of the police when confronting [a suspect]?’” Duterte added.
The President then hit Hontiveros and the Liberal Party for politicizing Kian’s death.
“Ang problema sa inyo, ‘yung pinapakialaman niyo, ‘yung patayan, ‘yung magamit ninyo sa politika,” the President said.
He also slammed Hontiveros’ “pretended grief” when she visited Kian’s wake.
And just like his supporters, Duterte also slammed his critics for their outcry over Kian’s death when they remained silent when drug addicts committed crimes against innocent civilians, bringing up the Bulacan massacre that left five people dead, including a one-year-old child.
“Why, the 5 who were killed in Bulacan, including a one-year-old. I do not hear them crying or even complaining that the police are not doing enough,” he said.
Duterte’s remarks echoed that of Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa, who shed tears when Hontiveros made the remarks about the policy of killing.
Human rights advocates and the President’s critics accuse the current administration of being responsible for the extrajudicial killings of thousands of people.
Duterte has been criticized for seemingly encouraging the cops to kill drug suspects and in one instance, telling them to give suspects a gun to make it seem as though they resisted arrest.
With Kian’s death, Duterte vowed to punish cops if proven guilty, something that the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) lauded.
In response to Duterte’s statement, Hontiveros released a statement noting how his words, as the President, have “effect and weight of policy.”
“I am not a genius but I know that while two deaths do not make a policy, thousands of dead, without remorse, regret, or action from the government, do. 8-13,000 people have already died in this bloody war on drugs, mostly from the ranks of the poor,” she said in her statement.
“Ang libong mga namatay ay hindi bunga ng aksidente. May intensyon, may nagdikta, may sistema at polisiya sa likod ng mga patayan. How could the number of dead reach such catastrophic levels if there is no guiding principle and policy behind it?” she added.
She noted how Duterte’s words and well-documented statements encouraging violence against suspected drug personalities have the effect of policy.
“President Duterte may insult me but he cannot deny the fact that the words coming from his lips, or those of any head of State, have the effect of policy. And the truth is, the President has a well-documented record of encouraging violence against drug dependents and suspected drug pushers,” she noted.
“”Shoot suspects if they fight back, make them fight if they don’t”, “kill all criminals”, and “makapatay lang tayo ng another 32 every day, then maybe we can reduce what ails this country.” When they come from a President, these are not just words. They have the effect and weight of policy,” Hontiveros said.
“The President cannot wash his hands of these killings. Through his words and endless provocation, President Duterte set into motion the killing of thousands. He has smeared the image of the police force. He inspired this culture of killing and impunity,” Hontiveros added.
As a PNP widow herself, the senator also encouraged the PNP to “redeem” their reputation and integrity by rejecting the policy of killing.
“I call on the honest and selfless rank-and-file members and leaders of the Philippine National Police (PNP) to help us stop this climate of death. I am not unfamiliar with the police community. I am a PNP widow. I know many of you are honorable and patriotic. I know many of you have worked hard to professionalize the police force. I know many of you are hurting from the actions of a few corrupt and abusive within your ranks,” she said.
“It’s time to end this madness. Let us redeem the reputation and integrity of the PNP. We start this by rejecting the policy of killing,” she added.