Duterte Says He Will ‘Never Apologize’ for Drug War Deaths

The Philippine leader's war on narcotics is perhaps the only policy that he has carried through consistently since his election in 2016.

Duterte Says He Will ‘Never Apologize’ for Drug War Deaths

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte will never apologize for the suspected drug users and dealers killed during the six years of his bloody anti-drug campaign, the leader said earlier this week.

In his first national address of the year on January 4, Duterte vowed to protect law enforcers doing their duty and said they had a legitimate right to fight back when their lives were in danger, according to a report in the Manila Bulletin. “I will never, never apologize for the deaths of those bastards,” he said in English, before adding in Tagalog, “Kill me, imprison me, I will never apologize.”

Duterte’s campaign against illegal drugs has been the one constant of his dizzying and controversial term in office, and perhaps the only policy that he has implemented with any degree of consistency or determination. On the eve of his May 9, 2016 election victory, Duterte told a crowd of more than 300,000: “If I make it to the presidential palace I will do just what I did as mayor. You drug pushers, holdup men, and do-nothings, you better get out because I’ll kill you.”