Despite being constantly denounced for his tough anti-crime efforts, President Duterte still has nothing personal against his staunch critic Sen. Leila M. de Lima.
The President recognized that De Lima, former secretary of the Department of Justice, is just doing her job amid reports she has pushed for a Senate inquiry into cases of alleged vigilante killings in the country.
“I do not blame De Lima, trabaho niya ‘yan eh,” the President said in his remarks before members of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting in Malacañang.
Duterte admitted that he has been the “favorite whipping boy” of human rights advocates since he was mayor of Davao City.
But he would still do the same thing if he were in De Lima’s position. “Kasi kung ako ang ilagay mo diyan, yayariin talaga kita,” said Duterte.
De Lima recently expressed alarm over the “do-it-yourself justice” amid the soaring number of vigilante killings of drug suspects under the Duterte administration. She has called for the accountability of the government for the “terrifying trend in law enforcement,” saying “all lives matter.”
De Lima has already filed a resolution seeking a probe into the drug-related killings in the country.
The President, meantime, declared there will be no letup in the government’s campaign against illegal drugs and other crimes.
“Walang atrasan,” the President said. “I am not fighting a crisis, I am fighting a war.”
He reiterated that he would put at stake his honor, life, and presidency as the government aims to suppress the illegal drug trade in the country. He added that he is even ready to be ousted via impeachment or coup attempt.
“I am willing to accept the consequences. I assume full responsibility at okay lang sa akin whatever happens,” he said.
Amid the ongoing anti-drug campaign, Duterte said military camps would be opened to house drug suspects who have been arrested or surrendered. More doctors and nurses will be hired to treat the drug patients, he added.
“Sabi ko sa kanila, ‘give me one hectare in every region, I have to build rehab centers all over the country.’ It cannot come overnight,” he said. (Genalyn D. Kabiling)