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Duterte denies gov’t hand in EJKs: ‘Hindi kami nagbabalot ng tao sa plastik’

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President Rodrigo Duterte has dismissed the allegation that the government is involved in extrajudicial killings of suspected criminals even as it pursues a war against illegal drugs.

In a speech at the inauguration of the Mega Drug Abuse Treatment and Rehabilitation Center Tuesday (Nov. 29), Duterte said the government has no hand in extrajudicial killings, particularly those committed within the first six weeks of his term.

“You know, the first six weeks ng assumption ko sa office, hindi amin iyon. Hindi sa gobyerno iyon. Hindi kami nagbabalot ng tao, ng plastik. We are not producing mummies in this country, sa Egypt lang iyon,” he said.

Duterte said the dead bodies found wrapped in garbage bags, plastic or duct tape were those of torture victims.

“Those who were tortures and if you are a government men, why would you waste your time wrapping a carcass there for nothing? If you want a drug lord, shoot him dead. Why do you have to waste your time?” he said.

Human rights groups estimate that 4,000 suspected criminals have died since Duterte took office on June 30, although the Philippine National Police said the number of individuals they killed in the course of legitimate police operations is much lower.

Duterte said those who were killed by law enforcement officers died because “they chose to fight.”

“My orders were very specific: Go and find them, apprehend them, arrest them. If they choose to fight violently, and you find yourself in danger, as a soldier and as a military man, go ahead and kill him. That’s about it. That’s the law. I was all along using the law,” he said.