Rizal Hall, Malacañan Palace
October 25, 2017

“Let us work together in instilling upon your members the best practices in the profession so that they can become crucial players in building a stronger and more dynamic regional community,” said President Rodrigo Roa Duterte to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Law Association (ALA) Governing Council during its commemorative session and concert program at the Rizal Hall in Malacañan Palace.

The President asked the ALA members and officials to become instrumental in addressing the regional scourge of poverty, transnational crimes and terrorism in the ASEAN region to create an environment where businesses can flourish and people live in lasting peace and prosperity.

He also spoke about the alleged human rights abuses perpetrated in the country by government law enforcers, stressing, “There never was a time when I said to just go out and kill the criminals.”

“The ‘extra-judicial’ tag that has been placed on me is simply not true,” emphasized the President as he spoke about his experience as a litigator before he became the Mayor of Davao City that gave him a clear knowledge of the law and its enforcement.

The President also clarified his orders to the Philippine National Police (PNP) on how they must not be afraid to take down suspects, by lethal force if necessary, if they deem that their own lives are at stake in the enforcement of their duties.

“But I did not tell any policeman… to kill just everybody, perhaps sitting down or kneeling in front of the police with his hands outstretched in surrender. That is really murder,” added President Duterte.

He discussed how the poor sector is the market of shabu, and how most rich people do illegal drugs in relative isolation and away from the reach of law enforcement bodies, thus making the arrest of marginalized people in the illegal drug industry more prevalent.

President Duterte also outlined the other problems of law enforcement in the country, including legislative problems such as the legality in arresting underage suspects, corrupt politicians, and terrorism.

Former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, ALA President Atty. Avelino Cruz, ALA Secretary General Atty. Regina Geraldez, key Philippine government officials, and foreign and local members of the ALA joined the President in the celebration.

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