President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday said he understands why the Philippine National Police (PNP) refused to share information to the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) regarding illegal drug-related killings.
In a pre-recorded public address, Duterte said the PNP wanted to keep case folders on the drug war “confidential” not because they are hiding anything but because these are “national security issues.”
Duterte said he personally did not get to see the PNP’s case folders and never asked for them because he was only concerned with results of police operations.
“They only tell me who they are but as to where they are and how they will be arrested, it’s none of my business really as President. That’s why I myself haven’t seen those records and I can understand when the military and police would withhold them, it’s not something you should know,” he said partly in Filipino.
Although he said some documents may be available to the public, he said confidential documents were kept under wraps for a reason.
“There are public documents that can be shown to the public at large and anybody who is interested can get it. But these confidential documents, you are not allowed to look at them,” he said partly in Filipino.
Duterte urged CHR to be “careful” in their assessment on human rights violations, noting that many cops were casualties in the drug war.
“Be careful in your evaluation and assessment. It’s not only the government that knows how to kill. The NPA and druglords also know how to kill,” he said partly in Filipino.
He, meanwhile, defended anew his aggressive crackdown on illegal drugs noting that cops would not shoot alleged drug coddlers if they did not fight back.
“It’s not that we’re killing all the bad people, but the good people, including my soldiers and cops are being killed and in numbers,” he said partly in Filipino.
Duterte said he would only protect cops who killed while in the line of duty, noting that he would never tolerate those who abused their power.
“They are not allowed to kill a man kneeling down or facing back. That’s illegal. But those facing you while carrying a gun, these drug coddlers, make them face police or military with training, they will surely die. And if you say there were intentionally killed, they were not. They fought back,” he said.
Duterte also warned the public against engaging in the illegal drug trade, noting that it could put their lives at risk.