The president’s televised remarks on Monday night were among the apparent acceptances of the possibility that he could face a whereabouts of criminal charges for a bloody campaign launched after he took office in mid-2016.
The murder of around 6,000 drug suspects has been reported by the police, but the rights watchdog has suspected that the death toll is much higher.
“If there’s killing, I’m saying I’m the one … You can hold me responsible for anything, any death that happened in the execution of the drug war,” Duterte said.
“If you are killed, it’s because I’m angry with drugs,” the president said. “If that’s what I’m saying, put me in jail.” Okay, I have no problem. If I happily go to jail and serve my country.
At least two complaints for the crimes of humanity and mass murder in relation to Duterte’s campaign are being investigated by an international criminal court (ICC) prosecutor who will determine whether there is enough evidence to open a full investigation .
Duterte responded to complaints two years ago of the withdrawal of the Philippines from court, stating that human rights groups had dealt a major blow in the war against the country. The ICC prosecutor has said that despite the Philippine withdrawal, the examination in drug killings will continue.
Duterte dismissed his remarks that the government was obliged, portraying the drug threat as a form of national security and public threat, like decades-old communist rebels.
Former public prosecutor Duterte said, “If it is allowed to continue and if no decisive action is taken against them, it will jeopardize the security of the state.”
“When you save your country from the crisis of people like NPA and drugs, you are doing a sacred duty,” he said referring to the Communist New People’s Army rebels.
There are 1.6 million drug addicts in the Philippines, Duterte said, citing data from an anti-narcotic agency. The figure is much smaller than the 4 million addicts he cited as reporting the police in a hurry to his presidency to justify his crack.
Police have reported at least 5,856 drug suspects killed and more than 256,000 others arrested since the start of the raid. Human rights groups have made a lot of accusations under reporting the deaths to the authorities.
Duterte said that drug murders that occur during police action should not be blamed on them, adding to those deaths that gang rivalry or scores can be settled.
Dar has widespread suspicions of additional murders, an allegation that Duterte and police deny.
In 2018, a court convicted three police officers of killing a 17-year-old student after witnesses and a security video rejected his claim that the suspect was shot after violently protesting, intoxicated A common cause cited by police officers after drug suspects were killed.