Philippines' Duterte warns of thousands more drug killings

2017-05-18 17:03
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. (Aaron Favila, AP File)

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. (Aaron Favila, AP File)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Manila - Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said on Thursday he wanted to behead opponents of his drug war and warned 50 000 people could die in the crackdown, after rejecting European Union aid in response to its criticism of the killings.

Duterte insisted he would not be intimidated by criticism of the drug war, which rights groups have said could be a crime against humanity.

"Don't trust those human rights (critics), if you do I will cut off both your heads," Duterte said in a speech to inaugurate a bridge in the southern Philippines.

"I will not be influenced by any fear. Jail me. So jail me. If they say I should be jailed, okay. Fine. I'll pay the price."

Duterte said human rights activists had alleged that 10 000 people had died in his drug war since he came to power in the middle of last year, but warned of many more deaths in his quest to eradicate drugs in society.

"Make that 50 000. I will really finish them off. And even if I go to hell, I can rot in prison. I do not mind. I am old."

Rejecting EU

Duterte's comments came shortly after his spokesperson said the Philippines would refuse European Union grants that "interfered" with its internal affairs.

The European Union has been one of the most vocal international critics of the drug war.

"The president has approved the recommendation of the department of finance not to accept grants... from the EU that may allow it to interfere with the internal policies of the Philippines," presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella told reporters.

Abella said one grant had already been declined for having "objectionable" conditions attached to it, although he refused to elaborate.

The European Union is the Philippines' eighth biggest source of aid, with assistance last year worth $217m, according to government data.

Much of the aid is spent on projects to help end Muslim and communist insurgencies in the southern Philippines.

It was not clear how much money was in jeopardy.

Abella said humanitarian aid would still be accepted but the EU ambassador to Manila, Franz Jessen, said the decision impacted $278m in grants.

Economic secretary Ernesto Pernia added to the confusion by saying the announcement of rejecting aid may just be a response by Duterte to the criticism and he may retract it.

Angry responses 

Duterte, 72, has repeatedly criticised European lawmakers and the EU for condemning his drug war.

The European Union has said it is reviewing Philippine exports' duty-free status because of rights concerns, which also include Duterte's plans to bring back the death penalty and lower the age of criminal responsibility to nine.

Duterte last year used vulgar language and raised his middle finger in response to a European parliament statement expressing concern over the killings.

The German government also expressed concern after Duterte last year drew parallels between his drug war and the Holocaust perpetrated by Adolf Hitler's Nazi Germany.

"Hitler massacred three million Jews. Now there are three million drug addicts (in the Philippines). I'd be happy to slaughter them," Duterte said, underestimating the number of people killed in the Holocaust.

Duterte later apologised for the Hitler reference but said he was "emphatic" about wanting to kill addicts.

Duterte easily won presidential elections last year after promising to end crime by killing tens of thousands of drug traffickers and addicts.

Police have reported killing about 2 700 people since Duterte took office at the end of June and immediately launched his war on drugs.

Unknown assailants have killed more than 1 800 others, while about 5 700 other violent deaths are under investigation, according to police data.

Partly in response to American criticism of the drug war, Duterte has also loosened the Philippines' ties with traditional ally the United States.

Duterte has instead embraced China, which has supported his drug war and sought to deepen economic ties by providing billions of dollars worth of investments and aid to the Philippines.

Read more on:    eu  |  rodrigo ­duterte  |  philippines

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.