Senator Richard Gordon on Tuesday warned that misinterpretations of the recent “Kill, kill, kill” order of President Rodrigo Duterte, which Malacañang said is legal, might lead to disastrous consequences, and called upon his fellow senators to act on recent cases of activist crackdowns and killings of government officials.
Last Wednesday, two masked assailants brutally stabbed red-tagged human rights lawyer Atty. Angelo Karlo Guillen. The President on Friday told his uniformed officials to “ignore human rights” and “kill” enemies right away.
Then the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines launched joint operations in the Calabarzon region that killed nine activists and detained six, on what critics call “Bloody Sunday.” A day later Calbayog City, Samar Mayor Ronaldo Aquino and five others died in an encounter initially reported as an ambush, but the police later claimed a “shootout.”
“The danger there is that when Malacañang says “Kill, kill, kill” order is legal, we cannot leave it upon our armed men on the ground to make a determination that the President does not mean it. That would lead to consequences that will be deadly. Because, after all, everybody knows that the President is the commander-in-chief,” Gordon said.
Sen. Panfilo Lacson, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on National Defense and Security, Peace, Unification and Reconciliation earlier said that the president does not really mean such “shoot to kill” orders, and that it is up to the officers on ground to “interpret soundly or with discretion.”
Former PNP Chief and Sen. Ronald dela Rosa also came to the President’s defense, and said that his hyperboles were only meant to give emphasis to his orders and to indicate he really means business.
“He’s prone to hyperbole, but at the same time, that hyperbole can go up into hyper disasters,” Gordon remarked. “And I think it would serve us well to have a resolution by the Senate that we must act on these cases.”
He also warned against letting these crimes and killings go unsolved. “If we allow it, it becomes matter of fact. Na para bang ‘Eh, drug pusher ‘yan eh, kaya pinatay. Oh, talagang magnanakaw ‘yan, kaya pinatay.’ We cannot allow us to go into that slippery slope and lose our democratic principles that are there to preserve life and property within the rule of law.” SENATE.GOV.PH