Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago said voters can “disregard” human rights allegations against Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, unless there is evidence to prove these.
Santiago said the admissions of Duterte that he killed criminals were just an “exaggerated way” to get the public attention.
“Si Mayor Duterte halos magkamukha lang kami, kaya kami matalik na magkaibigan kasi sometimes we descend to the level of hyperbole. ‘Yun bang sinosobrahan mo ang sinasabi mo para mas epektibo, mas nakaka-catch ng attention ng mga nakikinig pero ‘di naman literally true,” Santiago said in a press briefing in Pasig City
Santiago and Duterte are long-time friends.Duterte helped out Santiago in her past senatorial campaigns.
She even questioned why the accusations were revived after Duterte joined the presidential race in November.
“I think itong mga accusations of a death squad, other terrorist actuations, dapat kung may reklamo sila, noon pa. Noon pa ‘yun eh. Storya na ‘yun noon pa, baka 10 taon na. Kaya bakit ‘di nila pinag-file-an ng mga ganoong kaso?” said Santiago.
Santiago added, that when Duterte says he kills criminals,the mayor might mean he ordered their killings “according to law”
“There are police circulars on how you can kill at will, kill on site. There are regulations on how you can kill a person according to the law. Maybe that’s what he means because no person will say ‘I killed someone,’ and describe it. That would be an admission against interest, and he will need the full panoply of judicial defense,” Santiago said.
“So I think it can be disregarded unless there is weighty evidence.” she added.