Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte openly wondered Friday whether drug users are human or not, as a justification for encouraging mass slaughter.
Since taking office in May, Duterte has presided over the deaths of roughly 2,000 people. He has told the police and the civilian population at large that they’re free to take justice into their own hands against drug users and traffickers, AFP reports.
“Crime against humanity? In the first place, I’d like to be frank with you: are they humans? What is your definition of a human being?” he asked soldiers Friday.
For Duterte, many drug users are beyond all hope. They can’t be rehabilitated, and are essentially a drag on society.
“You cannot wage a war without killing,” Duterte said.
The battle between Duterte and officials at the United Nations has continued to develop, with the latest controversy coming in response to police chief Ronald Dela Rosa’s comments that drug users should murder their dealers and burn down their houses.
“Why don’t you give them a visit, pour gasoline on their homes and set these on fire to register your anger,” Dela Rosa said.
While Dela Rosa later apologized, Duterte stepped in and defended him, saying, “That’s my style. He is following it.”
Duterte then mocked criticism from U.N. officials.
“They want me to go prison? Do those idiots think I will be captured alive? My God, we will be together in hell.”
Policemen who carry out the president’s orders will be given full protection, Duterte added.
Duterte favors an aggressive, unhinged rhetoric when delivering public speeches. His close advisers have urged the media not to take everything he says so literally, as it’s apparently part of his cultural background to be hyperbolic.
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