• Pres. Rodrigo Duterte pledges support to law enforcers if they figure in legal trouble while performing their duties
  • The vow of support came after his administration drew international criticism over the rising death tolls in relation to the administration’s campaign against illegal drugs
  • As of recent data, at least 440 drug suspects have been killed since the government launched an intensified crackdown on illegal drugs

President Rodrigo Duterte vowed to grant pardon for law enforcers if they figure in any complaint such as human rights violation cases.

The President made the assurance amid his administration’s campaign against illegal drugs that has drawn international criticism over the rising death tolls, an article written by Virgil Lopez on GMA News Online stated.

In all the things that you do, upon the orders of your commanders in the performance of your duty, do it. Huwag kayong matakot ng kaso. Meron iyan. But I’ll see to it nobody goes to prison just exactly for doing a duty,” the president was earlier quoted as saying before soldiers of the 3rd Infantry (Spearhead) Division of the Philippine Army at Camp Gen. Macario B. Peralta Jr. in Jamindan, Capiz.

[Do not be afraid of cases. That exist.]

During the campaign period, the tough-talking leader promised to give pardon— absolute or conditional– to all men in uniform if they get into legal trouble while performing their duty.

As an example, Duterte noted he has long been backing up soldiers and policemen facing cases since his days as a prosecutor even up to his long stint as mayor of Davao City.

“Karamihin sa Davao na Army na takot na takot pa sa demanda? Takbo sa akin, ako magbigay ng abogado. Pero noong piskal ako 10 years ago, lahat ng ginawa ng sundalo at pulis, connected sa performance of duty, bagsak talaga ang kaso na iyan. Ngayon na presidente ako, ah bagsak sila lalo. Tigas tayo,” he disclosed.

[Most armies in Davao are scared to be sued? They can run to me, I will give them lawyers. When I was a fiscal 10 years ago, all cases pertaining to everything that soldiers and policemen did in performance of duty have failed. Now that I am the president, the more they will fail. We are tough.]

As of recent data, at least 440 drug suspects have been killed since the government launched an intensified crackdown on illegal drugs.

Of the recorded number, 41 percent or 181 were perpetrated by unidentified suspects, while 59 percent or 259 of the cases were during legitimate police operations.

Critics and allies have urged Duterte to look into the possibility that there have been extra-judicial killings among the casualties.

Meanwhile, the 71-year-old President stressed he is not afraid of complaints raised against him.

“Tutal kung makulong ako, wala man rin. Eh kulungin ako, 71 years old na ako. Ang sabi ng Revised Penal Code, ‘pag dating mo ng 70, i-release ka na. Seventy-one ako na-presidente, mag-order ako ng patay, you cannot arrest me kasi may immunity ako. And I have this pardoning power. I-pardon kita kung inutusan kita. Wala silang laban,” he said.

[If I get jailed, it is nothing. I am now 71 years old. The Revised Penal Code states that if you reach the age of 70 you can be released. I am the President. I have immunity. I have pardoning power. If I order shoot-to-kill directive. They can’t argue on that.]

As such, Duterte claimed that if he faces charges after his term, he will then be 77 years old.

According to Article 13, Chapter Three of the Revised Penal Code, if the offender is under 18 years old or over 70 years old, criminal liability is mitigated.