MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has expressed readiness to counter evil with evil and to mortgage his soul to the devil to fight illegal drugs.
Duterte, whose tough stance on narcotics and crime enabled him to win the 2016 presidential race by landslide, said nothing would happen if one fights evil with good.
"To those who are in the drug business and who are listening now, you are doing an evil thing and you think that you can conquer good. If that's the paradigm of your mind, if that's your mindset, I tell you: you are doing evil…sometimes I also do evil. So it will be evil to evil," the president said in an interview with religious leader Apollo Quiboloy aired last Tuesday.
"And do not ever, ever think that you are the only one who can do evil things and I can also go down to hell to really meet you where you want it to be. I won't elaborate on what I can do. I can do it and I will do it. That's what will happen. I will not let you escape," he added.
Human rights groups claim that Duterte's crackdown on narcotics, which has so far left more than 6,000 suspects dead based on official data, has encouraged extrajudicial killings and other human rights violations. Officials deny this, saying many of the slain suspects violently resisted arrest or were silenced by drug syndicates.
Duterte reiterated that he would not order the killing of young people linked to illegal drugs trade. The president, however, described as "evil" the importing of narcotics by what he called "lieutenants."
"For me, the young people should just be arrested. But the importing of drugs by lieutenants, that is evil; and if you want to play evil with me, I can do it also. If you don't have a soul, then I also don't have a soul. And if you have to mortgage your soul to the devil, I can also talk to the devil and tell him to do the evil act because I will also do that to them," he said.
"Because you know you are not allowed by your religion, of course it is true that you are not supposed to kill…because we are on the good side. But if they are bad and you do not counter it with something bad, that would be difficult…I won't allow it because I said do not ever, ever think that you monopolize evil on this planet. That's what I want to tell them," he added.
Duterte also reminded government personnel not to be involved in corruption, saying he has fired several people over irregularities. He cited the dismissal of 43 immigration officers linked to the pastillas bribery scandal and about 70 customs personnel. The president also claimed that there are only two or three "ninja" cops remaining but did not elaborate. "Ninja cops" refer to police personnel who resell narcotics confiscated during anti-drug raids.
"If people do not believe that we did it, it's up to them. We do not need to brag about our work. As long as it's about corruption, I will really punish you," the president said.
"With regard to drugs, I will just work, then maybe if I said if I have to mortgage my soul to the devil to fight them I will do it," he added.
Duterte then asked Quiboloy to rescue him from hell if he sells his soul to the devil because of his anti-drug campaign.
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