Rodrigo Duterte, the President of Philippines, has said that if he were to ever catch his son with drugs, he would kill him.
His son, Paulo Duterte, has been linked to a drug trafficking scam in 2017.
In 2016, Duterte, a controversial figure across the world, won the general election and assumed the office of the President. One of the key campaign promises that he had made was to be tough on criminals. He often vowed to kill thousands of criminals and has urged the public to take law into their own hands and kill drug addicts themselves. He once noted, “If you know of any addicts, go ahead and kill them yourself as getting their parents to do it would be too painful.”
The number of deaths in this deadly campaign has increased in the recent months. According to documented reports, there have been 7,000 deaths since April 2017. The UN has called on the country and the government to put an end to the violence. However, Duterte has retaliated by announcing that if the criticism persisted then he would withdraw Philippines from the UN and form a new body along with China and other countries.
The advocacy group, the Human Rights Watch has labelled Duterte’s reign as President as a “human rights calamity.”
In September 2017, rumors surfaced that alleged that Duterte’s son Paulo was involved in a drug scam. He was linked to a seized shipment of $125m worth of narcotics from China. Paulo Duterte was subjected to a Senate Inquiry where he maintained his innocence. He said, “I cannot answer allegations based on hearsay. My presence here is for the Filipino people and for my fellow Davaoenos whom I serve.” Paulo is the vice mayor of the southern city of Davao.
Duterte has not publicly commented on the allegations against his son. However, during a recent event he said that if he would kill his son if he was caught with drugs. He noted, “I said before my order was: ‘If I have children who are into drugs, kill them so people will not have anything to say. So, I told Pulong [Paolo’s nickname]: ‘My order is to kill you if you are caught. And I will protect the police who kill you, if it is true.”
In the recent months, more citizens in the country have started speaking against the harsh tactics used by the government. Manila Cardinal Luis Tagle the head of the Philippines Catholic Church has criticized the actions. He is one of the highest ranking members of the Church to have publicly spoken up against the government so far.
Additionally, thousands took to the streets on the 45th anniversary of the declaration of martial law in the country to denounce the government. Protestors burned an effigy of Duterte and have called for the resignation of the President.
Our assessment is that despite protests from the public and the international community, Duterte has made it clear that his war against drugs is his top priority. We believe that this is going to be extremely hard for the President to go back on his threat to kill his son. Perhaps this is the price he will have to pay for having killed a number of Filipinos – the circle of life.