Duterte says won’t debate with CHR, Palace on death of kidnap suspects

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/15 July) – Saying it would not look good arguing with ladies, Mayor Rodrigo Duterte today dismissed the idea of debating with Commission on Human Rights chair Loretta Ann Rosales and deputy Palace spokesperson Abigail Valte on the circumstances surrounding the police operation that killed suspected kidnappers on Thursday last week.

Rosales and Valte had raised the possibility of foul play during the operation based on an amateur video footage shown in a report by ABS-CBN’s TV Patrol.

But in press conference today at the Grand Men Seng Hotel, Duterte said he would instead bring the issue to the public “to whom this explanation belongs”.

He said the possible wrongdoing by one policeman should not be taken against the whole police organization of Davao City.

“If at all there is a murder committed, that stupid guy (police) did something wrong. But certainly you cannot drag the entire PNP (Philippine National Police) of Davao City just because of that,” Duterte said.

But the mayor added he would help the police all the way to the Supreme Court if a case is filed against them.

Duterte also said he should be jailed together with the police.

“Why should I be exempted?” he said, when the police was just following his order to “shoot to kill” if they (kidnappers) fight back “so they cannot pull the pins of the grenade and they cannot squeeze the trigger.”

“If the criminal threw his firearm and raised his hand, it is another story. Then the police should be imprisoned. There are certain levels in all encounters,” he clarified.

Three suspected kidnappers were killed last Thursday outside the Allied Bank branch on C.M Recto Street in a botched attempt to collect ransom from the kidnap victim, Sally Chua of Quezon City who was abducted last July 5.

The kidnappers had initially demanded P100 million but lowered the amount to P15 million after negotiations with the victim’s family.

Three suspects were killed during the operations and another one was arrested. Ten other suspects managed to escape.

‘Grainy video’

Upon seeing the video aired by ABS-CBN, Rosales commented: “That’s plain murder.”

For her part, during a media briefing on July 13, Valte called Duterte’s shoot-to-kill order against the kidnappers illegal.

Duterte, however, said the video was so grainy and could be interpreted in different ways. He challenged the person who took the video to testify where the gunshot came from.

Meanwhile, Duterte’s lawyer Salvador Panelo said the police did not commit any illegal act based on the video. He said it could not be proven that the gunshot heard on the video came from the policeman.

He said even if it came from the police, they can always argue that they acted in self-defense. “There was nothing to show in the video that will show that there is a criminal act. That’s legal.”

Duterte is known for his tough stance against crime. Under his watch dozens of suspected criminals in the city have been killed by members of an alleged death squad.

The Commission on Human Rights had launched a probe into these killings but found no hard evidence that would implicate the mayor. (MindaNews)