PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte was just being his playful self when he seemingly admitted to be behind the extrajudicial killings during his term, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said yesterday.
“That’s the President po being himself, being playful, highlighting the point na hindi siya corrupt,” Roque said in an interview with dzRH as he defended Duterte’s statement that his only sin was the EJKs.
He said Duterte was not serious when he made the remark and was just mocking his critics who were repeatedly accusing him of orchestrating the killings.
“Hindi na naman iyan seryoso ‘no. Sinasabi lang niya iyan, kasi nga palaging sinasabi iyan ang ginagawa niya ano. Pero it’s also na dinidiin lang niya na talagang hindi siya nagnanakaw, pero I don’t think na ang konteksto niyan ay literal,” he reiterated.
“Tingin ko po, iyan ay hina-highlight niya na never, never siyang nagnakaw. Pinupulaan siya ng EJK pero hindi po siya napupulaan na magnanakaw siya,” he added.
For his part, Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo pointed out that the President is not a native Tagalog speaker so he uses words differently.
He said what the President really meant was that EJK was the only issue against him.
“Ang ibig niyang sabihin, ‘ang isyu lang laban sa akin ay extrajudicial killings,’ iyon ang ibig sabihin nun. Alam mo, Bisaya si Presidente,” he said in a separate interview on dwFM.
He added that the President’s statements should be viewed in the context of his previous ones.
“Dapat kasi kapag sasabihin ng Presidente, titingnan mo iyong mga previous statements niya. Kailangan consistent doon sa dati na niyang sinasabi,” said Panelo.
In a speech before new career government officials in Malacañang, the President said he did not steal even a peso from government.
“Ano kasalanan ko? Nagnakaw ba ako dyan ni piso? Did I prosecute somebody na pinakulong ko? Ang kasalanan ko lang ‘yung mga extrajudicial killing,” he said.
Duterte, however, said that there was no evidence to implicate him in the killings which he blamed on ninja cops.
“4,000 deaths. When? Where? How? What did I use? Wala,” he said.