‘Drug war not to kill innocent civilians’
PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday blamed politics for what he said was the sabotage of war on illegal drugs, and insisted that he’s not out to kill innocent lives.
“Politics here in our country…. it’s meant to destroy [your reputation],” Duterte said.
Duterte said he doesn’t want teenagers such as Kian delos Santos, 17, Carl Angelo Arnaiz, 19, and Reynaldo de Guzman, 14, to be killed in his war on drugs.
“There’s sabotage. Why would you have to kill a teenager? What’s your purpose? What will you get?”
“And why would I do that to Filipinos of whom I’m the President? Why would I kill innocent persons? I’m not Trillanes,” he said in Filipino, and referring to his harshest critic, Senator Antonio Trillanes IV.
Duterte, however, admitted that he has yet to pin down who is behind the alleged plot to sabotage his war on drugs.
On Saturday, the Palace claimed that Duterte’s campaign against illegal drugs had hurt the operations of narco-politicians and drug lords, who were thus conniving to create a negative perception of the President’s bloody crackdown.
Duterte then ordered Philippine National Police chief Ronald dela Rosa to examine the teenage deaths more closely, because the police campaign was being deliberately derailed.
The Justice Department on Wednesday said the Public Attorney’s Office would be given a free hand in the case of De Guzman.
“I am giving PAO a free hand to decide on the matter,” Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said after learning that the National Bureau of Investigation had been involved in the full autopsy of De Guzman.
Aguirre earlier ordered the NBI to conduct a second DNA test to confirm the identity of the body found in Gapan, Nueva Ecija last week.
He gave the order after the Philippine National Police announced Monday that the body found in Nueva Ecija was not that De Guzman, as the DNA did was not a match to De Guzman’s parents.
But PAO chief Persida Rueda Acosta said a second DNA test was no longer needed, because the parents had positively identified the body of their son.
“It will no longer be conducted. The [Justice] secretary already conveyed it to us. Apparently, he was not aware that the NBI had already issued a death certificate certifying that the cadaver was that of Kulot,” Acosta said, referring to De Guzman by his nickname.
The death certificate was certified as correct by Dr. Carlomagno G. Yalung, medico-legal officer from the NBI. The NBI conducted the full autopsy on De Guzman while forensic experts from PAO led by Dr. Erwin Erfe conducted a forensic analysis on the wounds he suffered.
Earlier, Acosta, who is providing legal assistance to De Guzman’s parents Eddie and Lina, questioned the DNA results of the PNP.
“The panel of PAO lawyers handling the case of the murder of Reynaldo de Guzman is of the opinion that the taking of consent and DNA sample in the absence of PAO lawyers was illegal, and suspicious, and that the body of Reynaldo de Guzman was positively identified by the family, the NBI and the CHR and there was no issue at all on the identity of the cadaver and that there are no other claimants,” Acosta said in a statement.
“The PAO Forensic Lab therefore will take no further action on the DNA result released as it appears to be of very little credibility given the circumstances surrounding its release,” the PAO chief added.
De Guzman’s corpse was found floating in a river in Kinabauhan in Gapan, Nueva Ecija on Sept. 5 with his head wrapped in packing tape and some 30 stab wounds.
De Guzman was last seen with slain Arnaiz on Aug. 18 in their neighborhood in Cainta, Rizal. Arnaiz was killed on the same day in an alleged shootout with police in Caloocan City, but his autopsy report showed he had been tortured and was handcuffed before he was shot dead.