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Duterte knows he’ll be charged for EJKs: But Constitution allows president to pardon any one, including himself

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President Rodrigo Duterte is certain he will be charged by human rights groups for the alleged extrajudicial killings in the war on drugs but he claims he has an escape clause: his constitutional prerogative to grant pardon to anybody including himself.

“I’m sure that they will be filing charges against me. For what? I said, I will kill you. I have never until now, killed anybody. I never said I will order the police or the military to kill you, no. What I said was arrest them. If it’s still impossible, take them into the folds of the law. But if you are confronted with… That was my order,” said Duterte.

Duterte said he has not asked any of his Cabinet Secretaries to white wash any criminal case filed against officers nvolved in the killing of drug suspects during a police operation, including the murder of alleged drug lord, Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa, by a raiding Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) led by Supt. Marvin Marcos.

“When Vit Aguirre said that, ‘Mr. President, it looks like murder to us.’ Sabi ko, ‘Then, file the case.’ I never influenced. You can ask anybody. I just leave it as it is. I said, in the proper perspective. ‘Okay, you file the case.’ Tapos ngayon trial. ‘Okay, you can go to trial. But I will give him a lawyer. You convict him? Go ahead. Convict them’,” said Duterte.

Duterte promised that he would use his power under the Constitution to grant absolute pardon to all police and even promote them upon reinstatement into the service. He said he would the same power to grant himself pardon which would assume that he would be convicted by a court while still in power (a president is immune from all legal suit while in power).

“After conviction, all has been done legally, it is mine to do my legal thing. Why? Well, there is a residual power of President. What is it? Pardon. it does not even say, ‘can pardon a criminal except himself.’ There is no exception. Does not… Kung sana inilagay, except to himself, then I cannot pardon myself. But since it’s a blank authority before I leave Malacañan, pardon is hereby given to Rodrigo Duterte. Signed, Rodrigo Duterte,” said Duterte.

“Laban… Labanan man kaya ito ng utak. I don’t need to tinker with the law. Hindi na kailangang bastusin ‘yung batas. Wala na ‘yan. Follow your dream. Convict if you want. Don’t make it hard for everybody,” said Duterte.