During his nationwide address on Oct. 5, President Rodrigo Duterte contradicted his own past pronouncements in claiming that he has “not killed” nor has ever ordered a hit on anyone.
The president was responding to calls for the removal of Health Secretary Francisco Duque III when he said it is his job to ensure that the rule of law is followed, adding that he cannot prosecute an “innocent man” just for the sake of it.
Duterte then addressed critics who dispute this claim.
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Duterte has resorted to violent rhetoric on several occasions, particularly when referring to his administration’s war on drugs. In an impromptu speech on April 1, the president warned of extreme measures to be used on anyone who causes “trouble” while quarantine restrictions due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic were in place:
“‘My orders are — sa pulis pati military, pati mga barangay — pagka ginulo at nagkaroon ng okasyon na lumaban at ang buhay ninyo ay nalagay sa alanganin, shoot them dead.
(My orders are — to the police and military and barangay [officials] — should trouble arise, and on the occasion that [violators] fight back and your lives are put in danger, shoot them dead).”
Source: Presidential Communications Operations Office, Nation Address of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Pandemic, April 1, 2020, watch from 2:41 to 4:45
His remark, which earned criticism from human rights groups, came after the dispersal and arrests in Quezon City of around 20 individuals who staged a protest to call for relief and assistance amid the enhanced community quarantine.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Duterte’s Oct. 5 address was “from the heart” and that conflicting statements from the past were merely issued to “generate attention and discussion,” especially in the president’s “pet issue, iyong (the) anti-drugs campaign.”
Presidential Communications Operations Office, Talk to the People of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), Oct. 5, 2020
DZMM TeleRadyo, DZMM TeleRadyo: Ikaw Na Ba: Panayam kay Rodrigo Duterte (Unang Bahagi), Dec. 9, 2015
RTV Malacañang, Speech of President Rodrigo Duterte during the Wallace Business Forum Dinner, Dec. 12, 2016
BBC News, Philippines: Duterte confirms he personally killed three men – BBC News, Dec. 16, 2016
Presidential Communications Operations Office, Speech of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte during his meeting with the Filipino Community in Da Nang, Viet Nam, Nov. 9, 2017
Inquirer.net, Duterte says he ordered ambush of ex-mayor Loot, Sept. 17, 2019
ABS-CBN News, Duterte says he ordered hit on ex-Daanbantayan mayor he tagged as drug protector, Sept. 17, 2019
The Freeman via Philstar.com, In brazen, morning shooting: Loot, family cheat death, May 14, 2018
Presidential Communications Operations Office, Duterte names PNP generals involved in illegal drugs, July 6, 2016
Presidential Communications Operations Office, Speech of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte During The Oath-Taking Ceremony Of The Newly Appointed Government Officials, Sept. 17, 2019
RTV Malacañang Official Youtube Account, Oath-Taking of Newly Appointed Officials, Sept. 17, 2019
PTV Philippines Official Facebook Account, Presidential Spokesperson on PRRD’s remarks on Mayor Loot’s ambush, Sept. 18, 2019
RTVMalacanang, Arrival from Official Visit to Vietnam (Speech) 9/30/2016, Sept. 30, 2016
Official Gazette of the Philippines, Media Interview with President Rodrigo Roa Duterte in Bajada, Davao City, Aug. 5, 2016
Presidential Communications Operations Office, Speech of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte During The 45th Philippine Business Conference And Expo, Oct. 17, 2019
Presidential Communications Operations Office, Speech of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte During The National Heroes Day: “Taong Bayan: Ang Bagong Bayani Ng Bayan”, Aug. 28, 2017
Presidential Communications Operations Office, Nation Address of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Pandemic, April 1, 2020
PCOO Official Facebook Account, Kumusta po mga kababayan ko? | PRRD’s Message to the Nation, April 1, 2020
ABS-CBN News Channel Official Twitter Account, Commission on Human Rights expressed alarm, April 2, 2020
Amnesty International, Philippines: President Duterte gives “shoot to kill” order amid pandemic response, April 2, 2020
International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs, ‘Shoot them dead’: Duterte’s orders alarm Indigenous Peoples’ Human Rights Defenders, April 17, 2020
CNN Philippines, 21 protesters demanding food aid arrested in Quezon City, April 1, 2020
Philstar.com, 20 arrested at protest in Quezon City during quarantine, April 1, 2020
GMA News Online, QC protesters who demanded aid amid COVID-19 crisis face raps -QCPD, April 1, 2020
PTV Philippines Official Facebook Account, WATCH: Palace virtual presser with Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, Oct. 6, 2020
(Guided by the code of principles of the International Fact-Checking Network at Poynter, VERA Files tracks the false claims, flip-flops, misleading statements of public officials and figures, and debunks them with factual evidence. Find out more about this initiative and our methodology.)