Duterte says he will shoot criminals

This picture taken on Wednesday shows Philippines' President Rodrigo Duterte, center, posing for a picture with the Bureau of Jail and Penology Management (BJMP) personnel as he visits a detention cell of the BJMP located within Camp Bagong Diwa in Manila. (AFP)
Updated 21 October 2017
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Duterte says he will shoot criminals

MANILA: President Rodrigo Duterte has offered to shoot criminals himself, while warning he may bring police back to the frontlines of his deadly war on drugs.
Duterte made the comments late Friday following his announcement on Oct. 11 to withdraw the police from his anti-drug war after they were accused of rights abuses in killing thousands of people while following his orders to eradicate illegal drugs in society.
He replaced them with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), which has about 2,000 officers compared with 165,000 for the police force.
Duterte has repeatedly insisted he has not ordered or incited police to murder drug addicts or suspects, while at other times he has said he would be happy to slaughter them or have tens of thousands killed.
On Friday he said he would be prepared to kill criminals himself, as he raised doubts about the PDEA being able to contain illegal drugs.
“Those who rape children, who rape women, those sons of... if you don’t want the police, I am here now. I will shoot them. That’s true! If nobody would dare it, I will pull the trigger,” he said.
Duterte said he was already considering bringing the police back to run the drug war.
“Okay, let us see, six months from now. If things get worse again, I will say to these apes: ‘Go back to this job. You solve this problem of ours’,” he said, referring to the police.
Duterte was elected to office last year after vowing during the campaign that 100,000 people would die as he eradicated illegal drugs in society.
Since then, police have reported killing more than 3,900 “drug personalities.” Another 2,290 purple have died in unsolved “drug-related” killings, government figures show.
Many Filipinos continue to support the charismatic Duterte, seeing him as the solution to crime and corruption.
But human rights and Catholic Church leaders charge thousands of extra-judicial killings have been carried out by police and vigilantes as part of the drug war.
Authorities insist police only kill in self defense.
Duterte in January made a similar move to give the appearance of sidelining the police from the drug war after revelations that officers murdered a South Korean businessman in the police headquarters under the guise of an anti-drug operation.
He had then described the police as “corrupt to the core” and gave PDEA the lead role in the drug war.
But Duterte quickly reinstated the police without making any major reforms. Police officials swiftly announced a revitalized anti-drug campaign named: “Double Barrel Re-Loaded.”
Asked for a reaction to Duterte’s latest comments, PDEA spokesman Derrick Arnold Carreon conceded the agency faced a tough battle and was prepared to stand aside for the police.
“If the president so decides, we will welcome that,” Carreon told AFP.
“We are strained. Definitely it will be an uphill climb.”


‘Price of democracy’: Afghans risking their lives to vote

Updated 32 min 54 sec ago
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‘Price of democracy’: Afghans risking their lives to vote

  • Nearly nine million people have registered to vote, but far fewer are expected to turn out on polling day
  • ‘If my vote can bring these changes I will take any risk. I will either die or vote’

KABUL: From a university student to a middle-aged housewife, Afghans planning to vote in the October 20 parliamentary election say they are willing to risk their lives for democracy.
Nearly nine million people have registered to vote, but far fewer are expected to turn out on polling day due to threats of violence and expectations for massive fraud.
Six people across the war-torn country explain why their vote matters.
Out with the old and in with the new is Omaid Sharifi’s hope for the legislative election.
The 32-year-old artist, who is voting for the first time, wants to see a new generation of politicians take their seats in the next parliament.
Sharifi, co-founder of Kabul-based street art collective ArtLords, was inspired to vote by the large cohort of young, educated candidates among the more than 2,500 contesting the ballot.
“I am concerned (about security) but I think this is the price of democracy we have to pay,” he said.
First-time voter Fatima Sadeqi wants to stop criminals, thieves and corrupt people from entering the next parliament.
The 55-year-old housewife and her eight family members plan to support the same candidate in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif.
“We are tired of poverty and insecurity,” she said.
“I hope the new parliament is a better place, full of good people.”
Shirin Agha wants his 10 children to grow up in a peaceful Afghanistan — and he is willing to die to help make that happen.
The 45-year-old potter in the eastern city of Jalalabad is a first-time voter and plans to back “a good Muslim and an honest person.”
“I want the new parliament to bring fundamental changes to the economy, education and security so that our children can live in peace,” Agha said.
“If my vote can bring these changes I will take any risk. I will either die or vote.”
A sense of “duty and responsibility” is pushing English literature student Zahra Faramarz to vote — but she admits being “anxious” about security.
Faramarz’s polling station is located in a heavily Shiite neighborhood of Kabul where the Daesh group has carried out devastating attacks in recent months.
But the 21-year-old said it was important to vote to ensure her community has a voice in the lower house.
“If we don’t, someone else will select the candidates ... that is not good for us,” she said.
After disappointing results in the previous two elections, Ghulam Farooq Adil hopes it will be third time lucky on October 20.
The 29-year-old public servant from the western city of Herat plans to vote for an “honest” candidate who can help bring peace to Afghanistan.
“I want the new parliament to come up with a solid plan to end the war,” Adil said.
“I need to see changes, at least for the future of my son.”
Abdul Karim believes voting is a religious obligation for Muslim men and women.
“They must vote,” said the 85-year-old retiree in Kabul, who is voting for only the second time in his life.
But in return, the next parliament should “serve our nation, serve our land and provide” job opportunities for the poor, he said.
“We vote for Afghanistan and we expect our incoming MPs to make solid decisions for our nation’s well-being.”