Duterte admits innocents get killed in drug war — but vows it will continue

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — The government's campaign against illegal drugs has killed over 2,000 alleged drug suspects – during legitimate police operations; and President Rodrigo Duterte acknowledged that there are innocent people who perish in the process.

In a one-on-one interview with CNN Philippines Senior Anchor Pinky Webb on Thursday, Duterte said drug suspects are no longer in their right minds and it's not unusual for them to fight back when confronted by police.

Webb asked the President what he would tell families who say, their loved ones who were killed over drug allegations were innocent.

"It's a claim. I can claim also... Alam ko kasi lumalaban talaga yan. [They fought back.] They are ready to fight it out because of constant use of shabu," Duterte answered.

As for the 4,000 other unsolved summary killings — attributed to either vigilantes or drug syndicates — Duterte did not express much concern. He simply said the killings are a result of the country's serious drug situation.

"Gusto ninyong mahinto ang patayan sa Pilipinas? Foreigner and native, kwento ka ng droga. [You want to stop the killings in the Philippines? Foreigner and native, let's talk about drugs.]

"You stop this and everything will be okay. We can concentrate in other things of governance," he said.

Webb asked the President if he believes no innocent people are killed in the government's intensified war on drugs.

"No, I'd be lying (if I said no innocent people were killed). Marami, tinamaan sa crossfire lang. Pati mga bata [many, were hit in the crossfire, even children]," he said.

Duterte then explained, the government is civilly liable whenever a civilian is injured or killed during police operations, but officers are not criminally liable.

Despite the intensified efforts on the war on drugs, Duterte said he is still not satisfied with the result of his campaign.

"Until the last drug lord is killed, this campaign will continue until the very last day of my term," he said.