By Rjay Zuriaga Castor

PHOTO: Philippine Daily Inquirer

Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has slammed President Rodrigo Duterte for claiming that it was Filipinos — and not him nor his family — who “benefited” from the deaths of his administration’s bloody war on drugs. 

De Lima, a staunch critic of Duterte and his administration, said that it is absurd for Duterte to believe that the drug war has been good for the people of the country “when it is the very reason for their pain, suffering, and trauma." 

“Pinatayan ka na, gusto pa magpasalamat ka. What a twisted mind!” said De Lima, the former chair of the Commission on Human Rights. 

“Duterte and his family benefited from all these senseless killings in the country, not the Filipinos, and definitely not those innocent victims whose lives were lost, as well as the thousands of poor widows and orphans whose dreams were shattered, in this bloody and murderous war on drugs,” she added.

Duterte, in his taped weekly briefing on Monday, delivered an expletive-laden rant about human rights advocates and their criticisms against his drug war, asserting that it was Filipinos who “benefited” from all the deaths— not him nor his family. 

“Palagay na natin na totoo ‘yan sinabi ng human rights, p— ina sinong nakinabang diyan? Ako? Ako ang nakinabang? Pamilya ko? Nakinabang sila diyan sa p— inang diyan sa mga patay na ‘yan?” Duterte said in yet another defense of his administration’s bloody campaign. 

“Sino nakinabang? Kayo! Ang anak ninyo! Ang bayan natin ang nakinabang!” he added. 

The detained Senator underscored that most of the victims of the drug war's extrajudicial killings (EJKs) are from the “poor” families who are incapable of asking for legal assistance, or defending themselves before a proper court.

“This reality should be more than enough to remind us to not allow Duterte to brainwash anyone into believing that his drug war is good for us and that we should tolerate all these violence, because we should not, and we should never,” the lady Senator from Bicol said. 

“Kahit ano pang sabihin ni Duterte, hindi na kailanman maibabalik ang libo-libong buhay na pinaslang ng drug war—mga inosente, walang kamuwang-muwang na mga bata at walang kalaban-labang maralita,” she added.

De Lima further maintained that "Duterte cares very little about the devastation he leaves Filipino families in" and that the Filipinos, for the chief executive, "aren’t human, but pests to get rid of the only way he knows how: through violence.”

The widespread, egregious extrajudicial killings brought upon by Duterte’s war on drugs, has been receiving worldwide condemnation for its large-scale violations on human rights.

Last June, then outgoing Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda of the International Criminal Court (ICC) requested authorities to open a full-blown investigation into the alleged crime against humanity committed under the administration’s war on drugs.

Duterte, however, is firm enough in refusing to acknowledge the jurisdiction of the ICC, maintaining that he will not allow himself to be prosecuted by the "white judges" of the ICC, but only by the "Philippine court and before a Filipino judge."

Report source: Sen. Leila de Lima