Duterte assurance pardon, promotion for law enforcers in legal trouble
President Rodrigo Duterte again assured law enforcers that he has their back if they get into legal trouble while performing their duty. “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 said before soldiers of the 3rd Infantry (Spearhead) Division of the Philippine Army at Camp Gen. Macario B. Peralta Jr. in Jamindan, Capiz on Friday. Duterte reiterated his campaign promise that he will grant pardon to all men in uniform if they figured in any complaint such as human rights violation cases.
“Kasi kung magkamali sila, pardon. The president can grant pardon, absolute or conditional. Ang presidente hindi mo mademanda o sige larga tayo. Giyera? O sige. Patayin mo lahat ng mga p— i— iyan. ‘Sir, may kaso kami.’ Pardon. Ganoon kakapal, good for one battalion. O fill in the blank. Pirmado ko na iyan. Ilagay mo pangalan mo. 'Pag punta mo doon sa Ombudsman, sa fiscal, oh, oh,” Duterte said. “Tapos another order, ‘Restore to his former position. But this time after 30 days, promotion,’” he added, before quipping, “diretso from sergeant to general. Wala na iyang ganyang istorya.”
He said he has been backing up soldiers and policemen facing cases since his days as a prosecutor up until his long stint as Davao City mayor. “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 told the soldiers.
The Duterte administration's campaign against drugs has drawn international criticism over the rising death tolls. At least 440 drug suspects have been killed since the government launched an intensified crackdown on illegal drugs, according to GMA News data as of Wednesday afternoon. Of this 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.
Not afraid of complaints
The 71-year-old president said he is not afraid to face complaints 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.
“Ngayon, 'pag labas ko, pwede i-demanda ako. Buksan mo ang Revised Penal Code, ‘All persons reaching the age...’ Mandatory labas. Seventy-one na ako. Pagkatapos ko ma-presidente, 77, saan mo ako ilagay? Eh di wala naman,” Duterte argued. Article 13, Chapter Three of the Revised Penal Code said that if the offender is under 18 years old or over 70 years old, criminal liability is mitigated.