Duterte on 1,000 deaths attributed to him: 'Masyadong cheap naman 'yan'
The online news portal of TV5
MANILA - Known for his iron-fist style of governance, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte acknowledged on Thursday that he has killed or ordered the killing of people during his 22 years as a public official.
This was in response to the question "How many people have you killed?", during "Happy Hour", a televised roundtable discussion with News5, InterAksyon.com, BusinessWorld, Philippine Star, and Bloomberg Philippines at the TV5 Media Center on Thursday in Mandaluyong City.
"The human rights reports say that I killed, about mga (some) 1,000 executions. I've been mayor for 22 years. Masyadong cheap naman 'yan, ma'am (That's too cheap). Only 1,000?" Duterte said.
But he also hastened to add that some murders attributed to him were untrue. Photograph below is by Bernard Testa, InterAksyon.com
"There's no accurate meter for that to count," Duterte added.
The mayor said some killings were perpetuated by government as a matter of performance of law enforcement duty.
"Or, if you put up a fight. I've always told the police, 'Do not waste my time. You shoot him in the head.' Ako ma'am, kung mag-hostage ka sa Davao, 'wag kang tumawag ng mga TV diyan, Aksyon 5 para magpa-interview pa. Pag dating ko I will count to three. One, two, three. Tapos (For me, ma'am, if you take a hostage in Davao, don't call up TV stations, Aksyon 5, for an interview. When I arrive, I will count to three. One, two, three. It's over)," Duterte explained.
He recalled an instance in Metro Manila where a hostage-taker grabbed a child and displayed the act in public, only to slaughter the victim in the end.
"I will not allow you to dance there. I do not go into this ritual of talking, tapos gusto niyang makausap 'yung kapatid niya, tawagin 'yung TV (and then he asks to talk to his sibling, call up the TV stations)," Duterte said.
He related a kidnapping incident that occurred when he had just been in office for three months. The victim was detained in Cotabato for almost two months, and Duterte was tipped off when the captors sent feelers for a ransom. The kidnappers said they would bring the victim home.
Duterte was already waiting for them as they exited the house carrying the money.
"Tinapos ko talaga. Maingay 'yun (I really finished it off. It was noisy)," he said. "Parang New Year's Day (Like New Year's Day)."
He added that gun-toting criminals who refused to put down their arms would not even get a warning.
Despite his willingness to put criminals down, he believed that certain "circumstances" have to be present "to justify the killing."
As a Christian, Duterte said he would accept the repercussions of his actions come Judgment Day.
"'And He will come to judge the living and the dead.' Kung sino 'yung magturo sa akin sa panahong iyan doon sa Lord na, 'Siya 'yan,' tatanggapin ko kasi patay na 'yang mga 'yan eh (Whoever points me out to the Lord when the time comes, saying, 'That's him,' I'll accept it because those people are already dead)," he said.
Asked if the idea behind his style of governance was to instill fear, Duterte replied that the law should bring with it obedience and fear.
He said he would use cameras to monitor people entering his city from the moment they stepped out of the airport. He took pride in the order he was able to maintain in Davao City. On the other hand, he said, the Philippines' national capital was filled with trash everywhere.
Duterte also acknowledged that he did threaten a tourist who refused to stop smoking at a restaurant in Davao City, despite regulations to the contrary.
"Nilalagay ko lang ('yung baril). 'Di ko naman pinaputok. Nilalagay ko lang (I just placed the gun there. I didn't fire it. I just placed it there)," Duterte narrated. "Sabi ko, 'Papasabugin ko 'yung dalawang bayag mo' (I told him, 'I'm going to blow up your balls)."
The former prosecutor pointed out that he used to defend criminals and stand up for their rights. But he said that his role shifted when he became mayor.
"Why do I have to worry about criminals doing their thing and making the children of this country crazy? 'Mamili kayo,' ganun ang sabi ko sa tao ('Take your pick,' I told people). 'You give so much importance to the life of an idiot, a criminal, destroying the minds of the young. You know, you take care of individual human rights. I take care of a community. See to it that they're comfortable, see to it that nobody's harmed.' Ganun ako (That's the way I am)," Duterte said.