PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte on Monday hit back at Ombudsman Conchita Morales for "accusing" him of encouraging people to kill drug personalities.
At the mass oath-taking of presidential appointees and various organizations held at Palace’s Rizal Hall, Duterte slammed Morales for “anointing” herself as “spokesman of the criminals” as she attempted to defend them.
The Chief Executive said Morales should instead refrain from chiding him because she was unaware of the magnitude of drug problem in the country.
“Do not [be] the conscience of the community. You do not even know that the illegal drug trade has returned,” Duterte said before the newly appointed officials of the government, directing his speech to Morales.
“Since when did you anoint yourself as the spokesman of the criminals? Shut your mouth because there’s a problem. I am really infuriated. Look, it (illegal drugs) has returned,” he added.
Last week, Morales told Japan’s NHK that it was “unacceptable” that the President himself had provided instructions to wipe out individuals who are linked into illegal drugs.
Morales said Duterte’s order was an apparent incitement to kill criminals.
“He’s goading people to kill people. That’s a problem,” she was quoted as saying. “The directive to kill people under any situation irrespective of the context to me, that’s not acceptable.”
In his series of impromptu speeches, Duterte has said that he would not hesitate to kill drug suspects as they put in peril the lives of the Filipino people, especially the youth.
Reacting to Morales’ statement, the President challenged her to show him a law that states that he should not issue any demoralizing remarks against the criminals.
Duterte said he was willing to quit the presidency, if Morales could find such law.
“Now, Ombudsman Morales, find me a law which says I cannot threaten criminals with that. Find me a law which would bar me for saying, ‘I will destroy you if you destroy my country.’ Because if you can do that, I will step down tomorrow,” he said.
Duterte said he was avoiding to confront Morales because her brother, Lucas Carpio Jr. is the father of lawyer Mans Carpio who is married to his daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte.
He then told Morales to “not play God and shut up.”
“Is the Ombudsman not corrupt?... To Ombudsman, be circumspect. Don’t act like a saint. Do not play God and shut up. I am avoiding confrontations because your brother is the parent of my son-in-law,” the President said.
On July 14, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella defended Duterte and said that Morales merely took the Chief Executive’s pronouncements against illegal drugs “out of context.” (SunStar Philippines)