Duterte once taught human rights to cops, says he could never order extrajudicial killings in drug war

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said he taught human rights and criminal procedures at the Davao Region's police academy when he was still a struggling lawyer.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said he taught human rights and criminal procedures at the Davao Region's police academy when he was still a struggling lawyer. PHOTO: AFP

MANILA (Philippine Daily Inquirer/Asia News Network) - Amid mounting criticism of his bloody war on drugs, President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday (Sept 18) night said he could not have ordered extrajudicial killings because he himself had taught policemen about human rights.

Mr Duterte said he taught for many years about human rights and criminal procedures at the Davao Region's police academy to augment his income when he was still a struggling lawyer.

"They have the syllabus about human rights... I've been their professor (on) three subjects - Criminal Law, Evidence, Procedures," President Duterte told Public Attorney's Office lawyers during their convention at the Manila Hotel.

"Why would I teach for several years and then I will just say, 'You kill him, including the children?'" he added.

The President said he taught police cadets that they could kill another person only "in self-defence or that your life is in jeopardy".

"You cannot kill a person on bended knees with his hands tied behind his back. And you are not a man, for me, you are not a man. You cannot be a warrior," he said.

"I never condoned extrajudicial killings... for the life of me, I said, 'I would never allow extrajudicial killings,'" he added.

Local and international human rights groups have strongly criticised the government's war on drugs, claiming it had killed more than 7,000 drug suspects.

But the Philippine National Police disputed that figure and said only 2,600 drug suspects were killed in police operations after they fought back or resisted arrest.

President Duterte said he would invite the United Nations human rights commission to open a "satellite office" in the Philippines so that its personnel could join and monitor police anti-drug operations.