Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said he would have his son killed if accusations of drug trafficking against him proved true, and that he also would protect the police who would kill his son from prosecution, The Guardian says.
Duterte’s son, Paolo Duterte, denied trafficking allegations made against him in front of a senate inquiry earlier this month.
The younger Duterte reportedly has been accused of being a member of a Chinese triad gang and assisting in the smuggling of a large shipment of crystal methamphetamine from China.
During last year’s election race, Rodrigo Duterte – who took office in June 2016 and has initiated a violent war against drug use in the country – said none of his children was involved with drugs, but that if they were, they would face severe punishment.
He reiterated that stance this week during a speech in Manila.
“If I have children who are into drugs, kill them so people will not have anything to say,” Duterte said Wednesday, according to The Guardian.
“So I told (Paolo): ‘My order is to kill you if you are caught. And I will protect the police who kill you, if it is true.'”
Philippine authorities have reported the deaths of more than 3,800 people in connection with anti-drug operations since July of last year. Thousands of other killings have reportedly occurred as well.
Protesters both for and against Duterte held rallies in the Philippines on Thursday. Supporters see the president as their best chance for change and a leader concerned about ordinary people, Reuters reports; while opponents see him as a reminder of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.