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Duterte insists he couldn’t have killed 7,000 people: Do you think the Cabinet will shut up about it?

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President Rodrigo Duterte has disputed the oft-repeated accusation he killed more than 7,000 people in the course of his war on drugs by saying his own men wouldn’t have let him get away with it.

In a speech before businessmen at the Edsa Shangri-La hotel Wednesday (August 9), Duterte called those accusing him of mass murder “stupid (bobo).”

“I could not have killed 7,000. How can you kill 7,000 and not raise a howl? Aba ano bang tingin niyo sa mga taga-Davao, bobo? Unless, you’re ready to say na itong si Bebot Bello who was from Davao, eh walang ginawa ito except to condone and to…,” he said, referring to Labor Secretary and chief peace negotiator Silvestre “Bebot” Bello III.

Duterte said Secretary to the Cabinet Leoncio “Jun” Evasco would have also spoken up his alleged involvement in the killings if it were true since he used to be a priest.

“You think that we are friends and he would not tell me, ‘Stop it, you’re going overboard,'” he said.

Human rights groups in the country and abroad have accused Duterte of being complicit in the deaths of thousands of suspected drug users and pushers because of the government’s aggressive campaign against illegal drugs.