Philippines presidential front-runner Duterte holds tough crime stance

CCTV News

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The Philippines will be electing a new president on Monday. Candidates held final rallies ahead of Sunday’s campaigning ban. CCTV’s Barnaby Lo reports on front-runner Rodrigo Duterte in Davao, in the southern Philippines.

Philippines presidential front-runner Duterte holds tough crime stance

Philippines presidential front-runner Duterte holds tough crime stance

The Philippines will be electing a new president on Monday. Candidates held final rallies ahead of Sunday's campaigning ban. CCTV's Barnaby Lo reports on front-runner Rodrigo Duterte in Davao, in the southern Philippines.

As mayor of Davao, Duterte leads opinion poll — but his promises of aggressive, even deadly, measures to wipe out crime have alarmed rivals.

When he says he has eyes on you, that’s probably not an exaggeration. His office monitors the city’s streets 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They take calls and have police and rescue workers on standby for emergency.

In the 1980s, Davao was a rebel stronghold. Crime was rampant. But a lot has changed. One area that locals say was used as a dumping ground of murder victims is now a thriving commercial district. Davao City today is regarded as one of the safest cities in the Philippines. And many credit Duterte.

How he was able to do this is the stuff of legend. He is known to ride his bike or drive a taxi around town, and will not hesitate to personally stop a lawbreaker. If elected, he said he’s going to replicate the feat nationwide.

“Really I mean well. But if you make it hard for me to operate government, to bring about peaceful changes, to get rid of drugs and criminals, and to stop corruption, I’ll be forced to just really proclaim a revolutionary government,” Duterte said.

“And talking now about the police, they would be the backbone. The only thing that would make you succeed if there’s a revolution is that you’re being backed by the armed might.”

His extreme measures has earned him massive support among voters.

“Duterte simplifies the whole thing by providing very simple solutions. You have criminality, he says, ‘I will have public executions within six months when I become president’. All those who are crying for due process of course will say that is illegal,” Political Analyst Popoy de Vera said. “But to many Filipinos who are troubled by crime in their neighborhood. They’d like the problems solved now.”

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Many who claim they’re victims of the vigilante Davao Death Squad allegedly backed by Duterte. One man, who did not want to be seen on camera said his relatives were killed. One was accused of being an assassin, the other gunned down by mistake, because he looked like the alleged assassin, he said.

“So you can be killed just because you look like a certain criminal You can’t take the law into your hands. We have laws. What happened to our judicial system There’s no due process. It’s like people are just living in fear,” the man said.

Duterte denies involvement in any form of extrajudicial killing, but he admits he’s been forced to kill criminals – in shoot-outs for instance. There’s no reason to fear though, he says, unless you’re breaking the law.

“Just follow the law. What does the law say Just follow it,” the candidate said. “What was mandated in the regulation Do it. That’s it. I do not need more laws. I just need obedience from the people.”