MANILA, Philippines — In responding to concerns of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, President Rodrigo Duterte denied on Friday night that there is anarchy under his watch despite many killings in his anti-drug campaign.
"Ma'am, I am sorry but do not give such statement. You said, this country is sliding to anarchy. At no other time that the streets of Manila are almost freed of criminals. You walk around and find out," Duterte said in a speech before the 10th anniversary of the East Mindanao Command in Davao CIty.
The president turned the tables on the chief justice, whom he accused of promoting "anarchy" for espousing the cause that individuals should not surrender to the police when there are no legal warrants of arrest.
"I'd like to respond to the chief justice. And as much as possible, I want to be respectful as I can even be. Madam Justice, you are again wrong when you say, ‘do not allow yourself to be arrested if there with no warrant.' Dagdagan mo ang patay niyan," Duterte said.
Duterte again lectured the crowd about pursuing criminals even without warrant, and cited experiences of his own brushes with judges in his heyday as a young prosecutor.
Duterte said every Filipino can invoke citizen's arrest if he becomes witness to a crime or a continuing crime. "Kasi kung sabihin mo sa tao ngayon na walang warrant, may baril ako.. hearing your words, 'do not allow yourself to be arrested without warrant' is very dangerous statement," he said.
He also said security forces will do their duty if he begins to espouse anarchy.
"Do you think the military and the police agree that I will do something that will create anarchy and then they remain loyal to me? Ako ang unang papatayin niyan ma'am, sa totoo lang. They have no loyalty to me. These guys (are) loyal to the Constitution and the Flag," he said.
"And for as long as I am doing right, they will support me. If I have the tendency to go ahead with anarchy and be a dictator I will know, they will execute me. That's the truth if you really want to know. These guys have only…they only have the eyes to the Flag of the Republic of the Philippines and the written manifestation of the Flag is our Constitution," Duterte said.
On Thursday, Sereno expressed concern over the climate of impunity hounding the nation amid a spate of killings related to the brutal war on drugs launched by Duterte.
“I am alarmed by the situation of impunity in our country whereby our court processes are not effected by law enforcement agencies,” the Supreme Court chief said.