Duterte: I Gladly Take Responsibility for Drug Killings

Filipino president under investigation for human rights abuses
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 20, 2020 11:10 AM CDT
Duterte: I Gladly Take Responsibility for Drug Killings
Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte attends a meeting at the Malacanang presidential palace in Manila on Monday.   (Robinson Ninal Jr./Malacanang Presidential Photographers Division via AP)

The Philippine president has said he accepts responsibility for the thousands of killings committed during police operations in his crackdown on drugs, adding that he was even ready to go to jail, per the AP. President Rodrigo Duterte's televised remarks Monday night were typical of his bluster—and tempered by the fact that he has pulled his country out of the International Criminal Court, where a prosecutor is considering complaints related to the leader's bloody campaign. The remarks were also a clear acknowledgment that Duterte could face a deluge of criminal charges. Nearly 6,000 killings of drug suspects have been reported by police since he took office in mid-2016, but rights watchdogs suspect the death toll is far larger.

"If there's killing there, I'm saying I'm the one ... you can hold me responsible for anything, any death that has occurred in the execution of the drug war," said Duterte, who has made a crackdown on drugs a centerpiece of his presidency. At the height of the campaign—which has often targeted petty dealers and users along with a handful of the biggest drug lords—images of suspects sprawled dead and bloodied in the streets were frequently broadcast in TV news reports and splashed on the front pages of newspapers. At least two complaints for crimes against humanity and mass murder in connection with Duterte's campaign are being examined by an ICC prosecutor, who will determine whether there's enough evidence to open a full-scale investigation.

(More Rodrigo Duterte stories.)

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