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Duterte declares he’s a Christian in Holy Land: I believe in sanctity of life but kill if you must


President Rodrigo Duterte defended his human rights record to a gathering of Israeli businessmen and VIPs during a state visit to the Holy Land by explaining his unique views on Christian beliefs and crime and punishment.

In his speech, Duterte declared he was a Christian despite being painted on the global stage as a bloodthirsty, foul-mouthed strongman who ordered the killing of thousands.

“I’m sure that you have heard about human rights. You know I am a lawyer. I was baptized. I am a Christian and I believe in the value and sanctity of life,” he said in his speech.

“They said the criminals are being killed. But I have not for the life of me, ordered the killing of a particular person. If you happened to be there, sorry,” he said.

He said it was God’s will that his father moved their family from Cebu to Davao and it was also God’s will that he won in an upset victory in the 2016 presidential derby.

But he said unlike other Christians, he could not just spend the whole day in prayer while he world falls into the hands of criminals, corrupt government officials, and drug lords.

“I cannot just sit there and pray whole day. I pray and I said go out — that is my order to the military and police — go out, destroy the apparatus, the organization. If you have to kill by all means kill. And there is only one everywhere the same philosophy is that you can only kill if your life is also in danger. So if the enemy wants to kill you, then feel free to kill him first,” he said.

“It’s just one squeeze of a trigger. But I do not go to my troops and say, ‘be patient, wait for the idiot to draw his gun’. Because between the drawing of the gun and pointing it at somebody is just a matter of seconds,” he said to explain the high frequency of policemen killing drug suspects during anti-drug operations.

Duterte delved lightly on the subject of faith in his speech and did not elaborate on his doubts on the Catholic Church’s Creation and Original Sin dogmas apparently to avoid offending his predominantly Jewish audience.

“Nobody believes those who do not believe in God. It’s our concept of God comes from our parents. From the day we were born. So but their kind of values that are really very conflicting,” he said.

“Maybe it’s part of the universal equation of how things are. Nobody can explain that. It is only when you die when you begin to understand. When you travel the universe after, when you soar into the place where God is, then maybe the answer is there,” he added.