MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday brushed aside the concern of the United States (US) on the supposed extrajudicial killings associated with his administration’s intensified crackdown on illegal drugs.
In a speech delivered at Palace’s Rizal Hall, Duterte said he does not care about the possibility that the US might be prompted to take an action that would make him accountable over the supposed alarming deaths of drug personalities in the Philippines under his watch.
He made the statement as he revealed that he had a meeting with US Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim following the termination of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) between the Philippines and the US.
“Sinabi ko sa kanya (I told him), ‘I don’t… Iyang extrajudicial killing, wala akong pakialam diyan (I don’t care about extrajudicial killing). You can bring on the charges you want, but I will stick to my guns. I will kill anybody (who) will tend to destroy my country,” Duterte said.
The passage of US Senate’s resolution condemning Duterte’s drug war is one of the reasons that forced Duterte to terminate VFA, a 1998 military pact that gives US troops the privilege to visit the Philippines sans passport and visa regulations.
US senators in January approved Senate Resolution 142, which calls on US President Donald Trump to block all US-based transactions in property and interests of “members of the security forces and officials of the Government of the Philippines responsible for extrajudicial killings.”
Duterte defended his fight against illegal drugs, noting that he merely wants to protect his fellow Filipinos.
“How could it be wrong, when can it be wrong pag magsabi ako (when I say), ‘Do not destroy my country because I will kill you? Who can debate with that.? That is the preservation of my people,” he said.
The VFA is officially abrogated 180 days after the Philippines sent a formal termination notice to the US on February 11.
However, Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose Manuel Romualdez said there are ongoing negotiations between Manila and Washington to craft “something similar” to VFA.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo on Sunday said Duterte does not give his nod on the proposal to have another military deal between the two countries.
Duterte, in his latest speech, said it is becoming obvious that the US is trying to appease his administration.
“It came to the fore na yung alitan ko sa kanila, tinanggal ko ‘yung VFA, sila naman ngayon ang lapit ng lapit (that after my rift with them and the termination of VFA, they are now trying to make amends),” he said. (PNA)