CAGAYAN DE ORO – Reacting to the advice given by tough-talking Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte to kill criminals and throw them to the sea to curb the proliferation of illegal drugs, the city’s local officials said they would have just to take a rain check on his tips.
“That is the personal opinion of Mayor Duterte, but we in Cagayan de Oro will follow the rule of law,” Sun Star quoted Cagayan de Oro City Police Office (COCPO) chief operations officer Supt. Lemuel Gonda as saying.
On the other hand, chief of the City Council Committee Councilor Ramon Tabor said he hopes Duterte was not being literal during his address.
“I hope it was only a figure of speech because Duterte may have been frustrated by our justice system,” he said. “Killing criminals is easier said than done.”
Columnist Benjamin Contreras agreed and said Duterte may have just used a figure of speech in order to spice up his talk in front of an audience which included law students, lawyers, and judges.
Duterte made the suggestion during a testimonial dinner held at the Liceo de Cagayan University’s College of Law over the weekend.
In his speech, Duterte advised the city’s law enforcers to hack criminals to death to save bullets and to throw their bodies to the sea to avoid being caught by the courts.
“I am giving you the finer points on how to kill criminals,” he said.
Mum’s the Word
For his part, retired police officer and former member of the notorious but now-defunct Aguila Unit Benjamin Rada said Duterte should keep silent with regards to his support for extrajudicial killings.
“If Duterte wants somebody to be killed, he should not openly talk about it in public,” he said.
The Aguila Unit, a section of the local police, was also accused by human rights groups of committing summary executions during the 1980s.
Duterte himself is alleged to have ties with his city’s vigilante group, the so-called Davao Death Squad (DDS).