Davao City - In the midst of criticisms of inaction and controversies behind the recent shootout where a ransom payoff was busted in this city last week that killed three alleged members of a kidnapping group, City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte stood by the members of the police and asserted the legality of his "shoot to kill" order.
In a press conference called by Duterte on Monday afternoon, the mayor said he will protect his policemen and extend assistance to them if needed.
"They will have my protection, they will have my assistance, and we will go to jail altogether," Duterte stressed.
Duterte was with known lawyer Salvador S. Panelo in the press conference.
At the start of the press conference, Duterte said he is with Attorney Panelo whom he said he might hire as his counsel, and that of the members of the police force.
Duterte also clarified that he will not argue with Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte, and Commission on Human Rights (CHR) Chairperson Loretta Ann Rosales but will be addressing the people who voted him to office, whom his explanations belong, he said.
Valte earlier said that Duterte's order was illegal, while Rosales expressed belief that murder was committed after reviewing a video footage shown to her by some members of the media.
"All I can say is that the operation of the police was legitimate, and all were legal," Duterte said, adding that his order, based on the policy of the city government to shoot armed and dangerous criminals, stands.
"Shoot-to-kill orders, including the giving of rewards are legitimate tools of the government to fight lawlessness," Duterte added.
He further clarified that the shoot-to-kill order was meant for the police to be precise and accurate, to protect the public and the policemen themselves who at that time were performing their duty, and on the act of protecting themselves.
On the issue of inaction, Duterte said he is the supervising authority of the policemen whom he had given the order.
"If I initiate an investigation, being the supervising authority, Mayor Duterte will end up at the end of the day investigating Rodrigo Duterte," the mayor emphasized.
The video shown was a good entertainment, he said, adding that for trial lawyers like him, it is hogwash.
Duterte, before becoming a mayor of Davao City, served as a prosecutor for 10 years, and a continuing lecturer on subjects of criminal evidence and criminal procedure.
Panelo also clarified that he himself had seen the video footage, and that "there is nothing there that would show that there was an illegal act committed by the policemen."
"We only heard a gunshot," Panelo said, adding that no one knows where that gunshot came from.
Even if assuming that the gunshot came from the police, Panelo argued, still there was no criminal act committed, he said.
"You must remember that the law allows self defense on the part of the one who is being subjected to assault, where the life, liberty and security of a person is in danger," Panelo added.
On the reaction of Rosales to the video footage, Panelo said that it was cinematic.
"She is not even a lawyer. I don't think she has the business making comments on a crime which involves the law," Panelo added.