Duterte’s ‘kill, kill, kill’ order vs armed rebels is legal — Palace

Published March 8, 2021, 4:33 PM

by Genalyn Kabiling

There is nothing unlawful with President Duterte’s order to the military to shoot and kill armed rebels during an encounter as long as it is necessary and proportionate to subjugate the enemy, Malacañang asserted Monday.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. (YANCY LIM/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

To justify the President’s latest directive, Presidential spokesman Harry Roque has invoked the international humanitarian law that upholds the use of force to neutralize enemy combatants in situations of armed conflict. At present, he said the government is dealing with the local communist armed conflict.

“Under IHL po, tama iyong order ng Presidente – kill, kill, kill kasi nga po kapag mayroong labanan, kapag ang kalaban mo may baril na puwede kang patayin, alangan naman ikaw ang mag-antay na ikaw ang mabaril at mapatay (Under the IHL, the President’s ‘kill, kill, kill’ order is right because if there is an armed conflict, when your enemy has a gun and can kill you, you wouldn’t wait to get shot and killed),” he said during a Palace press briefing Monday, March 8.

“Hindi po paglabag ng batas, International Humanitarian Law, kapag nagpaputok ang sundalo sa isang armadong NPA fighter at mapatay ang NPA fighter (It is not against the law, the international humanitarian law when a soldier shoots an armed NPA fighter and kills the NPA fighter),” he added.

Roque further said: “‘Yung order ng Presidente na ‘kill, kill, kill’ legal po iyan dahil ang kanyang sinabing ‘kill, kill, kill’ eh iyong mga rebelde na mayroon pong hawak na armas (The President’s kill, kill, kill order is legal because he directed his kill, kill, kill order at the rebels holding weapons).”

In his visit to Cagayan de Oro City Friday, President Duterte ordered government troops to kill armed communist rebels on sight and return their bodies to their families. Duterte denounced the extortion and other atrocities committed by the communist rebels, calling them “bandits” without any ideology. He also said he was prepared to go to jail over his latest directive to the troops in wiping out the armed insurgents.

In the press briefing Monday, Roque explained that the President’s latest order was legal especially when the use of force is necessary and proportionate to neutralize the enemy.

“Mayroon pong batas na umiiral ‘pag mayroong labanan, at ito po ang batas na umiiral sa labanan sa panig ng gobyerno at ng CPP-NPA (Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army). Dahil mayroon pong digmaang nangyayari, hindi po talaga bawal pumatay (There is an existing law when there is armed conflict and this law governs the conflict between the government and the CPP-NPA. Because of the armed conflict, it is not illegal to kill),” he said.

“Ang ating batayan ay kung mayroon talagang military necessity sa pagpatay. Ibig sabihin, number one, kung necessary; number two, kung proportionate; at number three, if it will achieve iyong objective po ‘no which is the complete subjugation of the enemy (Our basis is if there is really military necessity to kill. It means, number one, if it is necessary. Number two, if proportionate. And number three, if will achieve the objective which is the complete subjugation of the enemy),” he added.

To prevent any more deaths of Filipinos, Roque explained said the government is striving to put an end to the local communist armed conflict.

“Under International Humanitarian Law, kapag mayroon kang sandata at ikaw ay kabahagi sa labanan, pupuwede kang pumatay at pupuwede ka ring mapatay. Kaya nga po ginagawa ang lahat ng gobyerno para matigil na itong labanan nang sa ganoon wala nang Pilipino na napapatay ng kapwa Pilipino (Under International Humanitarian Law, if you have a weapon and you’re part of the fighting, you can kill and you can also get killed. That’s why the government is doing everything to stop this war so there will be no more Filipinos killings fellow Filipinos),” he said.