Speaking before 1,200 drug suspects who surrendered in Bacolod City on Thursday, August 25, Dela Rosa urged them to commit violence against the drug lords that apparently used them to make money.
“Kilala niyo siguro kung sino drug lord dito? Ano gusto niyo patayin? Patayin niyo,” he said. “Puntahan ninyo, buhusan ninyo ng gasolina ‘yung bahay, sindihan ninyo. Pakita ninyo na galit kayo sa kanila.”
Dela Rosa also warned the surrenderees not to return to their old ways unless they want to be found lying dead on the street.
“Hindi ko kayo tinatakot. Huwag na ho kayo bumalik. Dahil kung babalik kayo wala kayong pupuntahan kungdi mamamatay rin kayo.”
Meanwhile, two palace officials defended the PNP chief’s statement saying that he did not mean it literally.
“Hindi naman siya nagti-threaten, drama lang iyon. Alam mo naman ang mga Pilipino, kung walang gulpe de gulat, hindi naman tayo ... gulpe de gulat lang iyon,” chief presidential legal counsel Salvador Panelo said.
Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella for his part said this was just part of Dela Rosa’s strategy of keeping illegal drug activities at bay.
“So even that, I would say, is a call. It’s not an incitement to kill. It’s a warning, it’s a heads up,” said Abella.
As of this writing, at least 1,900 people have been killed in connection to the Duterte administration’s war against illegal drugs.