Getting entangled in the illegal drug trade is like committing suicide, President Rodrigo Duterte said in his late-night televised address.

Dispelling allegations that he was to blame for the drug-related killings in the country, Duterte argued that drug suspects know the risks of their actions, as he blasted critics blaming him for their deaths.

“Ang labanan lang ho dito ngayon is ‘yung droga. The policy remains. Wala akong iniiba. Basta ako pagka sinira mo ang Pilipinas, ang bayan ko, papatayin kita,” Duterte warned.

“Iyang sa human rights paulit-ulit akong sinasabi at sinasabi ko sa iyo, kayong mga durugista, aabutin talaga kayo ng suwerte ninyo. Hinihingi mo eh. Para kang nag-suicide. If you commit suicide bakit ako ang mademanda? Ngayon kung papasok ka sa droga, gusto mo man mag-suicide,” the president said.

“Ginusto mo eh. Pumasok ka ng droga that is suicide. ‘Di ba? Iyan ang simple diyan. Ngayon kung gusto mong mag-suicide, huwag mong idemanda ‘yung pulis, idemanda mo ‘yung military, idemanda mo ako… Anong klase iyan? Paano ang pagka-Presidente ko? Maging inutil ako,” he added.

Duterte also recognized the gravity of the drug problem, saying it has resulted in the country’s “malaise.” He, however, remained unfazed by criticisms from rights advocates about his war on drugs, adding that: “Yan ang mensahe ko. At huwag mo akong takot-takutin iyang human rights diyan. Hindi ako natatakot diyan. Useless ‘yan.”

Rights advocates here and abroad have been denouncing the alleged extrajudicial killings and other alleged abuses linked to the government’s drug war. Some groups also called for an independent inquiry into the drug-related killings.

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