Presidential legal counsel Salvador Panelo yesterday slammed President Rodrigo Duterte’s critics for twisting the chief executive’s remark on extrajudicial killings last week in Malacañang.
“The usual incorrigible critics and detractors have found another arsenal within which to put the President in a bad light, using a portion of his speech delivered in Pilipino,” Panelo said in a statement.
Last Thursday, President Duerte, in a speech before career government officials, said: “Ano kasalanan ko? Nagnakaw ba ako dyan ni piso? Did I prosecute somebody na pinakulong ko? Ang kasalanan ko lang ‘yung mga extrajudicial killing.”
Panelo said that the statement must be viewed in relation to his ongoing relentless war against the drug menace.
Moreover, Panelo said the President could not have allowed state-sponsored killings, citing a remark the chief executive made during his first State of the Nation Address (SONA).
“There would be hell to pay against those who abuse their authority because they become worse than criminality itself,” Duterte said then, referring to police abuses in the campaign against illegal drugs.
“What he meant when he made that utterance was that from day one of his presidency he could not be accused of corruption. Nor could he be blamed for persecuting anyone or putting anybody to jail. He has nothing to do with few of his critics being placed in jail or facing the brunt of the law,” Panelo said.
He added, “It is only the baseless allegation of him being behind the extrajudicial killings that appears to tar his governance. That was what he meant when he made the aforesaid statement, the meaning of which is now, as always, being twisted by the perennial nitpickers of his uncommon lingua franca.”
Obviously the President being a Visayan is not adept at expressing himself in Pilipino.
“Extrajudicial killings are the result of members of the drug syndicates killing each other due to fraud in their dealings as well as a means of protecting and avenging themselves from whistle blowers,” Panelo said.
“The fact that policemen are killed in anti-drug operations shows that the drug lords and pushers use violence in resisting arrest as well as putting the lives of the arresting officers in peril hence their application of lawful self defense,” he added.