What drove me to the presidency? Patriotism says President Duterte
MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte was met with cheers on Sunday evening, October 16, as he defended his controversial war on drugs in a speech before the Filipino community in Brunei.
Duterte, who is on a state visit to Brunei, told Filipinos there that his love for country motivates him to go after those involved in the illegal drug trade.
"Kung walang bumubunggo nitong mga animal na ito, kawawa ang bayan (If no one goes after these animals, the country will suffer)," the President said.
"Why am I here? I am here because I love my country and I love the Filipino people... What drove me to the presidency? Patriotism," he later added.
Since July 1, a total of 4,735 people have been killed in the Duterte administration's war on drugs. Of that figure, 1,645 died in police operations while 2,730 were victims of extrajudicial or vigilante-style killings.
Duterte has repeatedly been accused of seemingly "endorsing" these killings – a claim that the President rejects. There are no state-sponsored killings, he told Filipinos in Brunei.
"Kaya ako nagmumura kasi napaka-bobo naman nila (critics). Hindi ako galit sa kanila, but what I'm trying to say is I'm totally exasperated – that's the word – na hindi nila alam ang batas that it is not a crime even for a civilian Filipino walking in the streets to say, 'I hate the criminals, I hope they would die, I will kill them if I catch them.' Perfectly alright. That's in defense, that statement is in defense of my country and people," the President said.
(The reason why I curse is because my critics are so stupid. I'm not mad at them, but what I'm trying to say is I'm totally exasperated – that's the word – that they don't know the law, that it's not a crime even for a civilian Filipino walking in the streets to say, "I hate the criminals, I hope they would die, I will kill them if I catch them." Perfectly alright. That's in defense, that statement is in defense of my country and people.)
"They keep on threatening me about sending me to the international court. Sinabi ko na nga eh, I am willing to rot in jail for the Filipino. Hindi ba ninyo maintindihan 'yan? So do not keep on threatening or intimidating me, calling my attention. Napaka-corny mo naman," he added.
(They keep on threatening me about sending me to the international court. I already said that I am willing to rot in jail for the Filipino. Can't they understand that? So do not keep on threatening or intimidating me, calling my attention. They're so corny.)
Duterte has faced criticism from the international community, particularly the United States, European Union, and United Nations, which have called on the Philippine government to put an end to extrajudicial killings.
Malacañang recently sent a letter to UN rapporteur on summary executions Agnes Callamard, inviting her to investigate the killings, and also to take questions from Duterte himself.
The Philippine President has repeatedly fired back at his critics, most recently telling the US, EU, and UN that he would ask questions to humiliate them.
In Brunei on Sunday, Duterte said: "I never applied to be a statesman. Hindi ko kaya 'yang prim and proper (I can't be prim and proper)."
His war on drugs, the President vowed, would not stop despite the criticism.
"Until the last drug pusher is out of the streets, until the last drug lord [is killed], then we stop. Then I will declare that the war has ended – until the last day of my term, if it needs be," Duterte said.
"Sabi ko nga sa [inaugural] speech ko, it will be a rough ride. Come and join me... Ibig sabihin, madugo 'to, pero stand by my side. Ubusin natin 'yung bad boys."
(Like I said in my inaugural speech, it will be a rough ride. Come and join me... That means this will be bloody, but stand by my side. Let's go after all the bad boys.) [source]