BY ROGER M. BALANZA
YOU BETTER DO IT OR I WILL DUMP YOUR DEAD BODIES INTO MANILA BAY!
This was the morbid warning dished out by Mayor Rodrigo Duterte against drug lords said to be planning an assassination plot against him to derail his presidential bid.
I can die anytime, said Duterte dismissing the threat in the Gikan sa Masa Para sa Masa television program on ABS/CBN in Davao City on Sunday, June 14.
Known for his iron-fist anti-crime policy in Davao City, Duterte is looming as a presidential candidate and is making human rights groups edgy over summary executions in his city being replicated nationwide if he becomes President.
His no-mercy campaign against drugs carried up to the presidency is a monster threat to the multi-billion peso illegal drugs industry in the country. often in connivance with corrupt police and prison officials.
Human rights groups said Duterte should be investigated for hundreds of summary executions of suspected criminals especially suspects in drug dealing in Davao City.
In the program, host Geraldine Tiu asked Duterte to react to news reports that drug lords have combined forces to stop Duterte becoming President.
Tiu, quoting the reports, said the plot involves assassinating the mayor, waging black propaganda or funding support for Duterte rivals in the presidential race.
Duterte said there may be no need for the drug lords to kill him because he is not going to be President as he is not running for the top post.
But he also said becoming President is “destiny.”
Earlier, Duterte said that if he is the President, he would a few days into office kill 100,000 criminals and throw their bodies into Manila Bay for the fishes to feast on.
He said Davao City under his watch is one of the safest cities in the world because there are no criminals in his city.
Killing criminals is the secret to peace in Davao City, he had said.
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima recently said Duterte should be charged for the extrajudicial killings in Davao City over his admission of his link to the DDS or the Davao Death Squad alleged as backed by Duterte and behind the executions.
But Duterte turned back the tables on de Lima who in 2009 as then chair of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) probed the mayor on alleged human rights violations.
Duterte blamed de Lima for the continuing drug operations by drug lords incarcerated inside the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinglupa. He said the prison is under the supervision of the Department of Justice headed by de Lima.
In a recent scandal that rocked the Philippine penitentiary system, authorities discovered the drug operation inside New Bilibid where imprisoned drug lords converted a maximum security complex into high-living quarters apparently in connivance with prison officials.
Duterte said he would be filing charges against de Lima for “fattening the drug lords” inside New Bilibid which is a prison facility under the supervision of the Justice Secretary.