“Take me to the court and locked up, no problem at all. If it is for the country to go to jail, I would be very happy.”
On October 19, Philippine President Duterte delivered a televised speech, revisiting the “war on drugs” he launched during his tenure. Earlier, the International Criminal Court had accused Duterte of acquiescing to law enforcement officers to directly execute drug offenders during drug control, and their actions constituted a “crime against humanity.”
In this speech, Duterte stated that he was willing to take responsibility for the deaths in the “war on drugs” and was willing to go to jail for “correct charges”, but he firmly denied the above allegations by the International Criminal Court.
He told the people: “(The war against drugs) is for the best interests of the country, and the health and well-being of the people are the most important.”
Since coming to power in 2016, Duterte has been pushing for a strong fight against drug crimes. However, the Philippines’ “drug war” has been criticized by some local and international human rights organizations. The International Criminal Court has conducted a preliminary review of Duterte’s two charges of “endangering humanity”.
Earlier, a human rights organization claimed that the number of drug criminals in the Philippines being “extrajudicial executions” has approached 20,000, but the Philippine police’s 2019 data show that since July 2016, about 5,000 drug criminals have been killed for resisting arrest. The “extrajudicial execution” incident was not done by the police. It may have been caused by gang fighting or clearing up grievances.
According to a report by the Philippine media “Manila Bulletin” on the 20th, in a televised speech on the evening of the 19th, Duterte stated that he will be responsible for the “war on drugs” and is willing to go to jail for the country.
Duterte said: “If there really is killing there…you can hold me responsible for anything, for any deaths in the war against drugs, and take me to court. There is no problem.”
He said: “If I go to jail for the motherland, I would be very happy. But the drug problem still needs to be solved because of love for the country, or for the country’s highest interest. The health and well-being of the people are the most important.”
However, Duterte firmly denied the accusation of “crimes against humanity” by the International Criminal Court and emphasized that the prerequisite for sending him to prison is “correct and fact-based accusations.”
Duterte is not worried about criticism from human rights organizations, saying that the Philippine government will continue to promote the campaign against the illegal drug trade. “When you save your country from the hell of drugs, you are performing a sacred duty.”
Duterte said that 1.6 million drug addicts in the Philippines are still struggling to survive. He asked critics of the “war on drugs” how they plan to take responsibility for these drug users who have become “lazy” and “backward.”
“Who is responsible for these people? Do you have a plan? Do you have money? How to help these poor people?”
In addition, Duterte also accused those so-called critics of “hypocrisy” because they kept silent whenever the police were killed while on a crime-fighting mission. He speaks bluntly, which makes him angry.
Duterte quoted data from an anti-drug agency that day, saying that as of now, there are 1.6 million drug addicts in the Philippines. This number is significantly lower than the 4 million when the “war on drugs” was not launched in 2016.